Red Sox

Here’s the late-career moment David Ortiz called his favorite clutch hit

"That at-bat, I’ll never forget about it."

David Ortiz
David Ortiz talked to the NESN broadcast about his favorite clutch hit. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

David Ortiz had many clutch hits in his illustrious Red Sox career, and NESN play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien acknowledged as much to Ortiz in an interview Tuesday.

“It’s a bad question, an unfair question,” O’Brien said during the Red Sox’s 8-3 loss to the Guardians. “I’m going to ask it anyway.”

The question: Which of Ortiz’s clutch hits was his favorite?

Ortiz was silent for a moment — not because he was annoyed by the “unfair question,” but presumably because there were so many to sift through.

“That I hit against the Tigers,” Ortiz said thoughtfully. “That was one of those moments.”


Ortiz, of course, was referencing the grand slam he hit in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers. With two out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Red Sox trailing 5-1, Ortiz ripped the first pitch he saw from Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit to right. Ortiz had never homered against Benoit, but the liner narrowly cleared the fence (and Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter) to tie the game. The Red Sox went on to win Game 2, the series, and ultimately the title.

“A couple of months before, I faced Benoit, and he felt really comfortable throwing me a splitter,” Ortiz told NESN. “… He tried to throw the split for a strike first pitch, and that’s what I hit. That’s what I was sitting on the whole way, because he showed me that was his go-go pitch, and he felt comfortable.

“And it was good, but he was trying I guess to establish himself with that pitch.”

Ortiz said he was proud of himself for remembering how Benoit attacked him previously, which added to why that was such a special moment.

“I was so happy and proud of myself because I know he got 97 in the back pocket, but I never changed my mentality since that last at-bat 2-to-3 months before,” Ortiz said. “And he changed the whole thing. I mean, I thought the Tigers were an unbeatable team. That team — they were good. …


“That at-bat, I’ll never forget about it.”

Ortiz was honored at Fenway on Tuesday after being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame over the weekend.

“This is the first time he’s going to walk into Fenway as a Hall of Famer,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the game. “I’m very proud of him. I think we all are.”


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