Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is no stranger to playoff drama, but his World Series MVP-winning performance against the Cardinals was fantastic even by his standards. Ortiz went 11-for-16 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs and 7 runs scored. His 1.948 OPS for the series ranks just behind Barry Bonds’ 1.994 in 2002 and Billy Hatcher’s stratospheric 2.050 in 1990 among the greatest-ever offensive performances in the Fall Classic. Ortiz now has the highest career World Series OPS all-time among players with 40 at bats, edging the likes of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.
Another way of capturing how extraordinary Ortiz’s performance was: the six-game 2013 World Series was the second-best six-game stretch (by OPS) in his entire career. In fact, the only six-game period in which Ortiz hit better than he did in the last few weeks came during the playoffs in 2007 — also known as the last time the Sox won the championship.
Statheads like us usually like to argue that there’s no such thing as “clutch” hitting, but despite that fact that the playoffs make up just 4% of the total games Ortiz played in his career, his two best six-game stretches ever came in the playoffs en route to titles. Of the rest of his top dozen six-game OPS stretches, five included games against the Yankees — and #12 came during the Sox’s 2004 run to their first trophy in 86 years. Whether by chance or through some inner sense for the big moment, it’s clear that David Ortiz played some of the best ball of his career in the spotlight.