Ex-Red Sox assistant tells amazing David Ortiz story


During his 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz's big bat was matched only by his larger-than-life personality.

The newly-inducted Hall of Famer was awe-inspiring both at the plate and inside the Red Sox clubhouse. Plenty of Big Papi's former teammates have recalled incredible stories from his career, but Brian Bannister might have the best one of them all.

Tomase: Celebrating the Hall-of-Fame legacy of David Ortiz

The former Red Sox assistant pitching coach took to Twitter to share his favorite Ortiz memory. Read it below.

David played his final MLB season in 2016 at age 40. Even after 20 years in the big leagues he still worked relentlessly at both his hitting and physical conditioning.

His schedule that year was extremely busy. Farewell gifts. Speeches. Interviews. Nonstop media. Often the quietest time of his day was during the games.

Being an American League DH is a lonely existance. 30-45 minutes between at-bats is typical. No time in the field.

Some players really struggle with controlling their thoughts and anxiety during this downtime. Not David. During his final season, he used that rare downtime to call back friends.

For context, I was added to the Red Sox Major League coaching staff for the first time at the All-Star Break in 2016.

During games that year, I would sit on a couch in the clubhouse and monitor video + pitch data on my laptop for any signs of trouble with the pitchers. David would often sit on a couch nearby.

I had always loved his infectious laugh and admired his incredible personal style. His ESPN commercial is one of my personal favorites.

This one day in particular, he was sitting on the couch opposite me talking on the phone as usual. Mid-conversation he remarked "Hold on a sec. I have to go hit."

However, this time he did something unusual. He didn't hang up the phone. He just put it down on the couch.

I watched him walk down the stairs to the dugout and then appear on TV in the on-deck circle just moments later. Within a few minutes he was in the batter's box. Spits on his gloves. Claps his hands.

Meanwhile, I'm still sitting on the couch on my laptop. His phone is still on the couch across from me. The call is still active.

I look up at the TV. He goes deep! Unbelievable! He starts trotting around the bases. He crosses home. Points up at the sky. High-fiving teammates.

Moments later, he walks up the stairs into the clubhouse and sits down on the couch opposite me. He picks up his phone again and says "Hey I'm back - where were we?" The phone call had never ended. Absolute legend.

You can check out the full Twitter thread here.

Bannister's story is an amazing one, but it doesn't come as much of a surprise. From the day Ortiz arrived in Boston in 2003 to his final game in 2016, he made hitting look easy. The three-time World Series champion kept the same calm demeanor at the plate whether it was mid-July or late October.

That's one of the many reasons Ortiz is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

Contact Us