ST. LOUIS - In this city’s baseball culture, a passion as all-consuming as hockey is in Toronto, the names Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski are held in universal reverence.
Williams, the Splendid Splinter was, and remains, one of the greatest hitters of all time, the last man to hit .400 over an entire season and the holder of dozens of individual batting records, both for the Boston Red Sox franchise and for all of Major League Baseball.
Yaz, like Williams, was an all-round hitter who amassed 3,419 hits, 452 homers and more than 1,800 RBI. He won the Triple Crown in 1967 and it would be 45 years before Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera matched that in 2012.
As decorated as each of these great players was, there is a big man with an even bigger smile who just now owns all of New England like no ballplayer ever has. David Ortiz is a bigger-than-life figure in what has to be considered a golden age of baseball in a town that believes it invented the game.