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Ahh, the debate of the word "greatest" very well may be the greatest of them all.
It is so absurdly subjective it's nearly impossible to deem one person, or one thing, the "GOAT." In a game like baseball, built upon a foundation of numbers and statistics, you can sway your argument in a multitude of directions.
When it comes to the entire postseason, the numbers are cloudy. So many games, so many series, so many players, so many years to dig through.
Some may consider Derek Jeter the greatest. After all, he leads everyone in postseason games played, at bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, singles, doubles, and triples. Then again, he played in 46 more games than anyone else who wasn't a Yankee. While he leads so many categories, does he really jump out as the greatest? I think he barely cracks the Top 10.
You want to look at individual performances by year? There might be none greater than Lou Gehrig in the 1928 World Series, who hit an absurd .545/.706/1.727. Or wait, maybe it's Babe Ruth, who in the same year, on the same team, in the same series hit .625/.647/1.375. Umm, I think the Yankees won that year.
Many consider Carlos Beltran a postseason monster. His numbers certainly put him in the conversation, .333/.445/.683. His 16 HRs and 40 RBI are impressive, mainly because he has only played in the postseason in four seasons and up until last month, had never played in the World Series.
Famed Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson, given the nickname "Mr. October" because of his postseason numbers, is another name that seems to be brought up in this discussion, and for good reason.
But don't go trying to give anyone else his nickname. Not even David Ortiz, who was absolutely dominant in the Red Sox run to a World Series title. When asked if Ortiz may have stolen his nickname, Jackson told HuffPost Live "He did a great job. There's only one Mr. October… Don't say nothing silly now."
Easy, Reggie. I know you're not quick to give much credit where it's due, and when you do, it's backhanded, but the numbers don't lie.
Let's stack them up.
Ortiz has played in 82 postseason games, compared to Jackson's 77, so the numbers are comparable.
Reggie Jackson: .278/.358./.527, 14 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 48 RBI, 41 R, 33 BB
David Ortiz: .295/.409/.553, 21 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 60 RBI, 51 R, 57 BB
Edge: Papi. "Mr. October" or not, Papi wins.
While the debate of greatest "postseason" hitter will forever carry on, there is no more debate as to who owns the most important postseason series of them all: the World Series. The answer? You guessed it (and you read the title to this post). David Ortiz.
Ortiz's career line in the World Series (13 games) now reads .455/.576/.795. All rank highest in baseball history (min. 35 PA).
If that wasn't enough, he may be the most clutch hitter in World Series history as well.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, in six of his 13 World Series games, he's either scored or driven in a run on the play with the largest Win Probability Added (WPA) in the game. In other words, he's scored a run or had an RBI on the most important play of the game in nearly half of his World Series games.
As the pressure mounts, he gets better, hitting an absurd .538 with a 1.623 OPS with two outs.
Oh, you throw a baseball with your left hand? That's unfortunate, stay in the dugout. Papi is hitting .538 and slugging .923 against you in the biggest games of his career.
So let's put this to rest. David Ortiz is the greatest hitter in World Series history. Numbers can be swayed here or there, but those don't lie. Whenever Papi has the opportunity to play in the World Series, and he's gotten a decent sample size, he makes the most of it.
The most important number? Three. The number of rings he's helped bring to Boston.
The Yankees and Red Sox have a reputation of playing not only some of the most intense games in baseball, but also some of the longest. Friday night, (and into Sunday morning), certainly did nothing to help that reputation.