Big Papi is the greatest DH of all-time

by Bill Chuck on July 11, 2013

There is a certain irony in David Ortiz last night breaking the record for most hits for a designated hitter and doing it in Seattle.

For one thing, Ortiz spent 1994-96 in the Seattle farm system before the Mariners traded Ortiz to the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 13, 1996, who in their infinite wisdom released him on December 16, 2002.

Then, of course, since 1973 the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award has been given each year first by the Associated Press, and then starting in 2000, by the Baseball Writers Association who in 2004 renamed it the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in honor of the Mariners great DH.

Last night, in the Red Sox 11-4 win over the Mariners, Big Papi had an early double for his 1,689th hit as a designated hitter to break his tie with Harold Baines for the all-time DH hit lead. He added his 19th homer of the season later in the game.

Ortiz now is the all-time DH leader in hits, runs scored, doubles, home runs, extra-base hits and RBI.

You have to wonder if Ortiz’ records will ever be broken as very few teams can afford to keep a full-time DH on their roster preferring to rotate players who can also field into that slot.

Top 10

Only 2013 players with 90+% of their games as a DH

Rk Player PA Tm G AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Victor Martinez 376 DET 89 338 36 86 7 47 31 43 .254 .311 .367 .678
2 Billy Butler 357 KCR 88 304 29 82 8 49 49 59 .270 .373 .405 .777
3 David Ortiz 313 BOS 73 272 47 90 19 65 39 41 .331 .412 .636 1.048
4 Lance Berkman 282 TEX 68 244 27 62 6 34 38 48 .254 .355 .377 .732
5 Travis Hafner 271 NYY 73 237 31 51 12 37 31 71 .215 .314 .405 .719
6 Jason Giambi 132 CLE 40 112 16 23 6 23 16 32 .205 .311 .420 .730
7 Danny Valencia 65 BAL 21 61 9 14 4 8 4 15 .230 .277 .508 .785
8 Luke Montz 30 OAK 13 28 2 5 1 5 1 8 .179 .200 .393 .593
9 Jordan Brown 17 MIA 14 15 0 3 0 5 1 1 .200 .235 .267 .502
10 Tony Sanchez 8 PIT 2 8 1 2 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .375 .625
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/11/2013.

BTW…

The first Designated Hitter Award in 1973 went to Orlando Cepeda of the Boston Red Sox. Harold Baines won it twice, Edgar Martinez won it five times, and Ortiz has won it six times.

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