Dominican Baseball Legends: 2nd Innings

Welcome back to part 2 of our look at Dominican baseball legends. (You can catch up on part 1 here.)

We are diving into the Dominican Republic’s national sport: baseball. In case you hadn’t heard, it’s pretty big here.

Without further ado, let’s meet our next Major League star!

David Ortiz aka ‘Big Papi’

Ortiz was one of the most powerful sluggers of all time. From 2003, he was the designated hitter for the Red Sox, and teamed up with Martinez to help the Red Sox to their 2004 big win at the World Series.

During his 14 seasons with the Red Sox, Ortiz was a ten-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, and seven-time Silver Slugger winner.

Ortiz holds the Red Sox single-season record for home runs with 54, which he set during the 2006 season. He has the highest career batting average in World Series play at .455.

Among designated hitters, he is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), runs batted in (1,569), and hits (2,192). Regarded as one of the best clutch hitters of all time, Ortiz had 11 walk-off home runs during the regular season and 2 during the postseason.

In 2007, Ortiz founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to support children in the DR and New England who can’t afford life-saving heart surgery. He was so moved by the resilience of the children in a Santo Domingo hospital ward that he promised to help them.

His wine label Vintage Papi, founded in 2008, has raised $150,000 for the Children’s Fund.

Dominican baseball legends

Sammy Sosa

”Slammin’ Sammy’ was a 7-time All-Star right fielder who joined the Chicago Cubs in 1992. He was National League MVP in 1998, who won six Silver Slugger Awards.

Sosa hit his 400th home run in his 1,354th game and his 5,273rd at-bat, a milestone he reached more quickly than any player in National League history.

Sosa is best known for being involved in the ‘home-run record chase’ of 1998. Sosa and Mark McGwire made it their mission to beat Roger Maris’ single-season home-run record of 61, which stood from 1961. Though Sammy broke the record with 66 homers, McGwire ended the season on a triumphant 70.

However, Sosa is still the only player to have hit 60 or more home runs in a single season three times in his career. He was also the fifth of just nine players in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs.

Sosa is second all-time in home runs among foreign-born MLB players and is one of only three National League players since 1900 to reach 160 RBIs in a season (2001).

Other big names

Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Tejada all won National League MVP Awards.

Bartolo Colon won the Cy Young Award in 2005.

Robinson Canó is a 8-time All-Star, 5-time Silvaer Slugger, 2-time Golden Glove winner who plays for the Seattle Mariners. He won the World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

José Reyes is a 4-time All-Star infielder for the New York Mets. He is the Mets’ all-time leader in triples and stolen bases, and has the most stolen bases among all active players right now (over 500).

Baseball in the DR – don’t miss it!

These baseball heroes hold a special place in Dominican culture. They are representatives of Dominican achievement in the world.

Many of them come from small towns and humble upbringings, having improvised equipment out of tree branches, cloth and golf balls as children. They act as symbols of hope and opportunity for thousands of fans.

When you visit the DR, pay attention to the baseball scene. It is a lively and passionate game, beloved by Dominicans. If you get the chance to go along to a ‘juego de pelota’ you’ll get a real glimpse into the local culture.

Even if sports isn’t your thing, you can count on the Dominicans to throw a wild after-party!