Ortiz's legend grows with historic World Series

(SportsNetwork.com) - The 2013 World Series will be remembered for the mini controversy surrounding the mysterious substance on Jon Lester's glove, the walk-off obstruction call and, of course, David Ortiz hitting baseballs as if they were beach balls.

Ortiz's Herculean effort helped the Boston Red Sox earn their third title in 10 seasons, one they were able to celebrate in front of the Fenway Park faithful for the first time since 1918.

Those in attendance Wednesday reportedly paid a record sum for the Game 6 clincher, money well spent for a rabid fan base that can say they witnessed a locked-in Ortiz on the game's biggest stage.

"I think it might be the most special out of all the World Series that I have been part of," said Ortiz, who became the ninth player to win three rings with Boston. "Our focus was coming in and doing nothing but play baseball."

The Cardinals proudly pitched to the eventual MVP time and again over the first five games of the series, often to unfavorable results. They wised up and walked him a record-tying four times Wednesday -- three times intentionally -- but were ultimately done in by Boston's deep supporting cast in a 6-1 loss.

Ortiz, already one of the most accomplished postseason hitters in history, finished with an amazing .688 average (11-for-16) with two homers, seven runs scored, six RBI and a robust .750 (18-of-24) on-base percentage over the six games. His average and OBP rank second among players with at least 10 plate appearances in a single Fall Classic.

At one point, the slugger reached base in nine straight plate appearances to match Billy Hatcher's record. His 11 hits fell two shy of the all-time mark in the 109-year history of the World Series.

Not bad for a 37-year-old designated hitter.

"We're talking about a likely Hall of Fame player," praised Red Sox manager John Farrell of Ortiz, who was the only holdover from the 2004 championship squad.

After Game 2's loss, Red Sox manager John Farrell announced in the postgame interview he would decide whether Ortiz or Mike Napoli would play first base in the National League park on a game-by-game basis.

Ortiz's scorching bat made the choice a no-brainer, further validated by the slimmed-down veteran playing serviceably in the field despite using his glove in only six games during the regular season.

In true MVP fashion, Ortiz deflected some of the limelight onto his teammates after the game.

"I put up the numbers, but we had a lot of guys putting up good numbers," he said. "I wasn't the guy who did it all."

It says a lot about Ortiz's performance when Lester's goes relatively unnoticed. The Red Sox ace shook off whispers of him doctoring the ball in his scoreless Game 1 performance and had an equally lights-out showing in Game 5.

All told, Lester allowed just one run on nine hits in 15 1/3 innings and struck out 15 while issuing only one walk -- numbers that usually translate into hardware this time of year.

But Ortiz was simply that good, becoming the third DH to win the MVP award.

Few, if any, have been better.