Will David Ortiz Break the World Series Hit Record?

David Ortiz's 11 hits (in 15 at-bats, no less) puts him just two shy of a record set three times. While he might seem like a lock to break it, it's not so cut and dried. (USA TODAY Sports)

David Ortiz's 11 hits (in 15 at-bats, no less) puts him just two shy of a record set three times. While he might seem like a lock to break it, it's not so cut and dried. (USA TODAY Sports)

It should come as no surprise that David Ortiz, the owner of a .733 batting average through five World Series games (not to mention a 2.017 OPS), is on the verge of breaking the World Series hits record. Ortiz’s 11 hits (in 15 at-bats, no less) puts him just two shy of a record set three times — by Bobby Richardson with the Yankees in 1964, Lou Brock with the Cardinals in 1968 and Marty Barrett with the Red Sox in 1986.

ortizchart copy

World Series hits, by plate appearances.

Richardson, a second baseman for the Yankees from 1955 through 1966 and a seven-time All-Star, finished 13 for 32 (.406) with two doubles, three RBIs and a stolen base in the club’s seven-game loss to St. Louis in 1964. Richardson struck out just twice in 33 plate appearances but didn’t take a single walk — he had just a .299 career on-base percentage and walked in just 4.5 percent of his career plate appearances. The Yankees managed to score him just three times in the 1964 Series. Series MVP went instead to Bob Gibson, who allowed a 3.01 ERA in 27 innings over three starts, including a 10-inning win in Game 5.

Brock needed just 28 at-bats to compile his 13 hits and provided much more power and speed than Richardson. Brock hit a pair of homers, a triple and three doubles to go with three walks as he hit .464/.516/.857 for the Series. He stole seven bases and was caught just twice. However, Brock went just 2 for 7 as the Tigers swept the final two games of the Series in St. Louis to win in seven games. Series MVP again went to an opposing pitcher — Mickey Lolich, who won games 2, 5 and 7 and allowed just five runs over three nine-inning complete games.

Barrett, second baseman for the Red Sox, completes the trifecta of World Series losers setting the World Series hits record. Barrett, like Richardson, didn’t provide much power — he had two extra-base hits, both doubles. Still, Barrett walked five times and struck out just twice to finish with a formidable 1.014 OPS. His single to center field off Rick Aguilera gave the Red Sox the lead in what looked to be the deciding Game 6 before, of course, Bill Buckner happened. Series MVP went instead to Ray Knight, who hit .391/.440/.55 with a home run and five RBI for the Mets.

Although it might seem like Ortiz is a lock to catch this trio, it’s not so cut and dried. He is a sharp .296 hitter in 81 postseason games but, thanks to his propensity to take walks (and draw intentional passes), Ortiz has a hit in 23.6 percent of his playoff plate appearances (practically identical to his 24.8 percent regular season rate).

Given that hit rate, he has under a 10 percent chance of beating the record should the Red Sox manage to win Game 6 — at least in nine innings. Unless Ortiz takes 11 plate appearances over the rest of the Series (something that will almost certainly require two games, and probably one extra innings affair) he has less than a 50% chance of beating the record. Here is a table of Ortiz’s odds to tie or beat the World Series record given how many plate appearances he takes from here on out:

PA Tie Beat
4 19.5% 4.3%
5 24.8% 8.9%
6 28.5% 14.8%
7 30.4% 21.5%
8 31.0% 28.7%
9 30.5% 36.0%
10 29.1% 43.2%
11 27.2% 50.1%

41 thoughts on “Will David Ortiz Break the World Series Hit Record?

  1. What this table does not show clearly is that Ortiz’s odds of tying the record begin to drop after 8 plate appearances because the odds say he already would have tied it. Indeed, I think these numbers should be reworked to show that, if he has, say, 10 plate appearances, he almost assuredly would have at least tied the record. Just saying.

    • You could rework the numbers to show the tying becomes a high-percentage probable occurrence with the higher number of plate appearances by adding the “tie” and “beat” statistics together, starting with the very first row.

      In essence, this will replace the “tie” column with a probability for “tie or beat.”

      In common sense, we know that “beat” includes “tie,” so having the left column be “tie or beat” makes more sense.

  2. Every article on this website is talking about what Ortiz can’t do and I’m think “What about what he is doing?” Is anybody playing better than him?

  3. We’re talking about a guy that was supposed to be done playing 3 years ago whose come back in 2013 to bat .733 in the WORLD SERIES! Also, baseball is a game for notoriously defying the odds- 2004 Red Sox. In October, stats go out the window along with tendencies, this is a completely new season for the two championship contenders and anything can happen, that’s what makes this month so magical for baseball fans. Anyone who is doubting David Ortiz in this World Series is either a Yankee or Cards fan.

    • No. He USED to remind me of Barry Bonds. But he’s hitting .733 in the WS because he knows when to shorten up his swing and just get on base. Bonds (and the ‘old’ Papi) only swung for the fences. Ortiz right now looks more like the Mantle’s and Gehrig’s of old. He gets on base, gets his RBIs, takes his walks, and helps out the TEAM–not just himself. To compare him to Bonds is just ridiculous. I also assume that the OP is referring to the periodic cries of PEDs that have surrounded Ortiz the last couple of seasons. I don’t know about any of that. I only know that he has not tested positive, and even in today’s MLB, one must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. There is definitely a systemic problem within professional sports (ALL sports) right now, and it has to do with money. Athletes are willing to do whatever is necessary to excel and get big contracts, and owners/managers are willing to look the other way to get their own paydays. It’s sad, and I sincerely hope that Ortiz is not a part of it. He is having a career postseason, and had an amazing season for a 38-year-old DH.

      • Great hitter…did the steriods period….and like Barry Bonds,they were NOT necessary. I personally do not give any credit what so ever to the vast majority of MLB Players that used PED’s in the 1990’s and 2000’s, They cheated, they know it and the fact they cheated the testing systems as well only goes to prove the fact they are defensive, untrustworthy cheaters. OJ Simpson didn’t do any time for murder…when there is enough money involved it is amazing how even the worst of enemies become friends in league to cheat the baseball fan. Baseball was very profitable from an ownerswhip standpoint and good statisitically from the juiced players standpoints…Baseball fans are ignorant or naive if they don’t understand ALMOST ALL of the players in that era juiced. Big Papi had a whole Dominican connection with Manny Ramirez and his boys. Please don’t defend a cheater like Ortiz with trite comments about his never having failed a drug test…release the Mitchell Report- he will be there.

    • Where’s A-rod’s positive test results? Do you have them in your hand? Does anyone? No. Because he never tested positive. That’s besides the point though…A-rod, Manny, Ortiz, and many other player have ADMITTED to PED use. Ortiz was supposed to end his career 3 years ago, the only reason he’s hitting like he is is because of whatever he’s sticking up his a$$. Reminds me very much so of Barry Bonds. Pitchers won’t even pitch to him…SMH.

  4. He is a great clutch hitter, as great as they come…love to have had him on our side.

    A Yankee fan

  5. Unbelievable for a guy that was supposed to be DONE 3 years ago, and if things hold up, there is no way you can’t give him the Series MVP. Lester winning 2 big games, Pedroias overal, but Big Papi has been THE best player out there. I really hope they will keep pitching to him. His leadership has been impressive as well. Tip of the cap to ya Papi!

    Rangers Fan

  6. Questions: Which batting average is more significant, the .296 over 81 post season games in Ortiz’ career, or the .733 he is hitting now? He’s hot now, knows the pitchers (and they know him). Or is either number significant for the next two games?

    Also, is there any other batter in World Series history who has been in Ortiz’ exact position and failed?

  7. It’s funny how Red Sox fans beat up on A-ROD for steroid use but completely accept it for their own. TYPICAL. Go Cards!

    • Prove it? A-ROD has been caught not once, not twice, but THREE times, and the league still lets him play. Anyone who thinks that is fair, or thinks it compares to unsubstantiated rumors is just lying to themselves.

      • Prove it? You have A-rod’s positive test results? NO…in fact no one does because he never tested positive. But that’s besides the point. Arod, Manny, Oritz, and a host of other players ADMITTED to PED use at some point in their careers. Papi is batting the best he has at the old age of 37. That’s not talent, or skill. That’s juice.

        • Even if you do shoot up the a$$ you still have to be able to hit the ball. Do PED’s enhance hand eye coordination? Does it give you good baseball knowledge on how to hit certain pitchers? No it doesn’t I can only imagine playing all season day in and day out to entertain fans. In being a amateur baseball player I remember the grueling toll that playing ball takes on your body. There is nothing you can do to make your muscles feel better so play the game then say something. Bonds greatest player that ever lived, period…

        • If Ortiz was taking PED’s half of those hits would be home runs. But they aren’t. He’s hot and knows how to get base hits and mix in the long ball. Your argument is so ignorant.

          • There was just a segment on MLB network about how unlikely it is for Ortiz to end up in the hall of fame due to his use of PEDS, whether he uses them anymore or not. He may change the face of the red sox this century and give them a go but he has no legacy will hold no remarkable memory in the name of MLB.

  8. E home whatching bOtiz does not use steriods and A-Rod is alll washed up and that is why he has to resort to performance drugs and I hope ortiz brakes the recordand boston wins! tonight and the yankees suck because they wouldn’t be homme whatching boston win the series. And as for you your just a ssore looser and cherring for a loosing team go red socks #1team!

  9. Ortiz does not take steroids as forA-Rod he’s all washed up and for the yankees let’s just say who is in the world series boston of course and boston will win the series tonight. And ortiz will break the record!

  10. The thing that maybe is the most astonishing with Ortiz is that he is so universally loved and respected among his peers. Comparisons to guys like A-ROD and Bonds are seriously misguided. There is no one in the game right now that doesn’t enjoy watching and playing with (or against) Papi. In visiting stadiums, the home team often comes out just to watch him take batting practice, and ask him for advice and just hear stories. That kind of respect and admiration among a group of amazingly talented athletes is a rarity anywhere, but in an increasingly selfish, self-promoting environment like MLB, it’s downright unheard of. The only other players I can even think of that garner this level of universal respect are Jeter and Rivera in the Bronx. Papi is a class act. His retirement will be a sad day for Sox fans, but maybe a bigger loss for MLB as a whole, much the way the Sandman’s exit this season has been. Whether you love, hate or just don’t care about the Red Sox, Ortiz has been a great ambassador for the sport, and team allegiances should not play into it.

        • I am a yankees fan, yes but I am also a baseball fan. The Red sox have a phenomenal team this year, I can admit. Subjectively, I wish for bambino to keep the party out of Fenway. I would be satisfied with that, but if the red sox do win it, I congratulate and tip my hat to the turn of a century. Good luck, but I hope the cards take it all.

        • There was just a segment on MLB network about how unlikely it is for Ortiz to end up in the hall of fame due to his use of PEDS, whether he uses them anymore or not. He may change the face of the red sox this century and give them a go but he has no legacy will hold no remarkable memory in the name of MLB. Basically the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of Mariano.

  11. You can say what you want but pro sports is big bussiness for the owners annd big money for the players. The player will do anything to keep the big pay chque comming in when they are past their prime( not all but some ) We should be foucesing on the love of the game and stop all the negitive coments that incloudssme as well.let’s justt say let the best team win( boston)

  12. Ortiz is 37 years old, has tested positive in the past(2003), is batting .733,
    Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, all had great World series careers, and never cam close to .733
    and people think he is clean?

  13. if you think that steroids make it so you can see the ball better and get the bat wherever they pitch the ball I believe you’re delirious . Papi’s locked in and seeing the ball in an unbelievable way- ther must be a ped for that, huh?

  14. Pingback: David sobre Pedroia: “El enano que las coja todas si quiere” | Prensa RD

  15. steroid doesn't gives you more contact with the ball, it gives you more power, David ortiz has shown that he deserves the position he has now because he is doing the right thing in the right moment. on said:

    Steroid doesn’t gives you more contact with the ball, it gives you more power, David ortiz has shown that he deserves the position he has now because he is doing the right thing in the right moment.

    And all your comments against him only show that you can’t stop him.

    • Oh, Barry Bonds was clean too then right? Because his RBI record had nothing to with roids, just his straight up hand eye coordination. Okieee