LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since the inception of the designated hitter in 1973, nobody has dominated the position for a sustained period quite like David Ortiz.
Big Papi extended his own record on Tuesday, when Major League Baseball announced him as the winner of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding DH Award for the seventh time. And this time he was a unanimous choice.
With all due respect to Martinez, a fine hitter in his day who five times won the award now named for him, the honor could well be named after Ortiz someday.
At the age of 37, Ortiz had another big season, ending with the Red Sox winning the World Series.
Ortiz was right in the middle of the action and was named the MVP of the Fall Classic, in which Boston defeated St. Louis in six games.
In the regular season, Ortiz hit .309 with 38 doubles, two triples, 30 homers and 103 RBIs over 137 games. He led the team in average, homers, RBIs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases and extra-base hits.
His performance in the World Series will be hard to top, as he batted .688 with two doubles, two homers, six RBIs and eight walks.
"We always joke whenever he sees me that he's like a fine wine," said A.J. Pierzynski, Boston's new catcher. "He just gets better with age. David and I go back -- I was 19, 20 years old, he was the same age. I remember we played together in Fort Myers a long time ago. He's amazing. I respect the heck out of David. He's one of my good friends, and I love David to death. He's a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person."
Ballots for the Outstanding DH are cast by beat writers, broadcasters and American League public relations departments.
Orlando Cepeda (1973), Jim Rice (1977) and Don Baylor (1986) are the other Boston players who have won the award.