By Jessica Camerato, Boston.com Correspondent.
When David Ortiz hit his first home run for the Boston Red Sox in 2003, he could not imagine he would find himself on such a coveted list 11 years later.
On Saturday Ortiz hit his 400th career home run with the Red Sox, making him just the 25th player in Major League history to do so with one team. The only other player to reach the milestone with the Red Sox: Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452).
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with those legends, people that did an amazing job and played for the Red Sox,” he said following the Red Sox 10-7 win over the Houston Astros. “Legendary, legendary. You come to this organization to play and you’re not expecting your name to be mentioned right next to those guys. But it happens. You do what you’ve got to do and that’s the only way you get there.”
Ortiz’s milestone home run was a drive to center field that in the third inning that also scored Dustin Pedroia. He hit another one in the fifth and finished the game with six RBIs (tied career high).
“Every time David comes to the plate, you think there’s an opportunity or a chance we might see a ball go out of the ballpark,” said manager John Farrell. “On two occasions tonight, that was the case.”
With 27 home runs, Ortiz is only three shy of tying last season’s total (30). He is tied with Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs for most home runs by a left-handed hitter.
Ortiz continues to produce in spite of the team’s struggles this season. He refuses to let the standings impact his performance each game.
“You need to have pride in what you do,” he said. “You have to make sure that you go 100 percent out there and you play your best. The fans come in to watch you play and you’ve got to give them what they expect.”
The next milestone for Ortiz is home run number 500. He won’t focus on that, though. Instead he will keep his attention on helping the Red Sox win games, leaving the rest to fall into place.
“What I’m trying to tell you is, you don’t play the game just to think about personal numbers,” he said. “You play the game to do it right. Whatever you accomplish is a plus. Like I said, you’ve got to give to the fans what they expect. There are some times things don’t work out the way you expect but at least they see you trying.”