Papi passes Yaz on Red Sox's homer list
NEW YORK -- It can now be said that only Ted Williams hit more home runs for the Red Sox than David Ortiz.
Ortiz unloaded for his 453rd and 454th homers with Boston, towering solo shots to right-center in the fourth and seventh innings of the Red Sox's 5-1 win at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.
Big Papi's first blast on the night allowed him to pass Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski for second on the team's all-time list.
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With 512 home runs in his career, Ortiz also passed Mel Ott and is tied with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 22nd on MLB's all-time list.
"Well, it means a lot," said Ortiz. "You're talking about [some of the] all-time greatest in the history of the game and they have done wonderful things. To be a part of that, it's something special, it makes me part of a special group. It's an honor."
For Ortiz, was particularly meaningful to have such a big night on Mother's Day in honor of his late mom Angela, who died in a car accident 14 years ago. When Ortiz points to the sky after all of his home runs, he is doing it as a tribute to his mom.
"Definitely. All day," said Ortiz, when asked how special it was to go deep twice on Mother's Day. "Today is a very special day for all of us. I think I picked a really good day to hit two homers -- on Mother's Day. My mom passed away 14 years ago. I know she's in a place watching me. It's a special day."
Next up after Banks and Mathews on MLB's all-time list, Ortiz needs another 10 long balls to pass Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas (currently tied for 19th).
At the rate Ortiz has been hitting home runs, he should be able to accomplish that before he retires at the end of this season.
Considering the start Ortiz (.308, 9 HRs, 27 RBIs, 1.066 OPS) is off to, a lot of people wonder why he doesn't play longer.
"It probably crosses all of our minds given the start he's off to," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "In this ballpark, he's extremely dangerous for obvious reasons, with the dimensions. He's in such a good groove, so many balls he's squaring up. He's having fun, he's having fun playing."
That said, Ortiz remains steadfast that he will follow through with his intentions to hang up his No. 34 jersey once this season is over.
"I'm retiring," said Ortiz. "But it's not even on my mind right now."
The 40-year-old Ortiz has hit six homers in his last nine games. In particular, Ortiz has tormented the Yankees, hitting five against the Bronx Bombers in six games this season.
"It's good, man. It means I can still hit the ball and do what I do and I'm going to continue playing the game," said Ortiz. "We're off to a good start as a team and that's all that matters."
The lefty slugger has 52 career homers against the Yankees, tied with Yaz. Ortiz is one of just six players in history to go deep 50 or more times against the Yankees. Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx has the most, with 70.
His first moonshot against Yankees righty Luis Severino left his bat at 109 mph and was projected to land 422 feet away from home plate, according to Statcast™. He second was projected at 398 feet.