The “Boston” Sports Guy – He’s been the life of the World Series party three times now — 2004, 2007 and 2013 — and over everything else, that’s when the David Ortiz era becomes historically fascinating. By the time I graduated college, Bird, Russell, Orr and Williams were the big four. All discussions started and ended with them. In the 2000s, Tom Brady made his run … and if the 2007 Pats had finished 19-0, he would have joined them. Right now, he’s still standing outside the front door waiting for the bouncer to let him in. To be continued. But Ortiz? We thought the bouncer shooed him away a while ago. Now he’s back. He just cemented his reputation as one of the greatest clutch Boston athletes ever, and one of the greatest clutch baseball players, too.
Count me among those saying that Ortiz has cemented his place on the Boston Sports Mt Rushmore. I never thought I’d say this as recently as a month ago, but he’s even moved past Ted Williams as the greatest Red Sox ever. (And this is coming from me, who’s always thought of Teddy Ballgame as a Christ-like figure. In school I milked Williams’ autobiography “My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life” for like 50 book reports. At my bachelor party they gave me a Sox #9 jersey and an autographed ball that is the one object I own that I’ll risk death for to save if ever the house catches fire.) So if you want to put Papi among the best this city has ever seen, you’ll get no argument from me.
But putting ahead of Brady, the way Dave did is a bit of a reach for me. (Agree to disagree.) Far, far worse though is Brady off your Mount Rushmore altogether the way Simmons has? That’s just crazytown. In no way, shape or form am I diminishing how great those other guys are. But how in God’s name do you leave off a guy who’s in the conversation as the best quarterback of all time? With emphasis on the word QUARTERBACK, because it is by far the toughest, most complicated and most important position in all of sports. It’s not even close. Taking Sports Guy’s list, having a great forward in basketball is useful. A great center is helpful. A great two-way defenseman is crucial. A great cleanup hitter is vital. But a great quarterback is everything. Take Bird, Russell, Orr and Ortiz off their respective teams and replace them with an above average player, and those teams probably don’t win a championship. They’d most definitely would have won fewer. Replace Tom Brady with, say, Carson Palmer the last 13 years, and the Patriots aren’t even competitive. In fact, looking at some of the supporting casts around him, they probably don’t crack .500 a lot of those years. And he doesn’t make the big four because the Giants pulled off two impossible throws off weak Patriots’ secondaries? It’s madness. Any list of the best athletes in a city that doesn’t include a three time champion, two time MVP, multiple record setter who’s put his team consistently in the championship hunt for well over a decade playing BY FAR the most important position ever devised is fucking lunacy. And the only person who’d leave Brady off is someone who’s been watching the LA Clippers the last ten years and has no idea what he’s been missing.
PS. To answer the obvious question, I’d have to go: Brady, Russell, Ortiz and Orr so every team is represented. And I say that as someone who takes a backseat to no man when it comes to Larry Bird hero worship so it pains me more than you know. But I suppose having such a hard time narrowing the list down just proves how lucky we are. @JerryThornton1