EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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September 8, 2013

How great is David Ortiz? Cabrera, Baines weigh in

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, the most dangerous hitter in all of baseball, reflected on the first time he ever saw Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz play in person.

Cabrera was wowed.

“The first time I seen him in person was ‘03,” Cabrera told The Eagle-Tribune before Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park. “We came in here to play and they scored like 22 runs.”

Cabrera then was a rookie with the Marlins. Actually, the Red Sox won 25-8 in the first game of that series. Ortiz went 3 for 4 with a double, homer, walk, hit by pitch, three RBIs and four runs in the rout.

Cabrera chuckled when talking about that game. Little did he know he was about to see his Tigers get crushed by the Red Sox behind another immense performance from Ortiz. The Red Sox won Wednesday’s game 20-4 with Ortiz going 3 for 5 with a double, two homers, four RBIs and three runs.

Ortiz’s double, which was sandwiched between his two homers, was the 2,000th hit of his career.

“He can hit for power, average, he drives a lot of home runs,” said Cabrera, who last year became the first player to win the Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Is Ortiz the greatest DH ever? Both Cabrera and former DH Harold Baines weighed in on that topic.

In June, Ortiz passed Baines for the most hits ever by a DH (then 1,689). Baines wouldn’t go as far as calling Ortiz the best DH ever.

“He’s the greatest in his era,” Baines said. “There was Hal McRae before me and then Edgar Martinez.”

Hall worthy?

Ortiz’s 2,003 hits through Friday is a significant total considering he is a middle-of-the-order hitter who gets walked often (1,076 walks). He also has 427 homers.

So is Ortiz a Hall of Famer? After all, he’s been a dominant hitter since 2003 — that’s 11 years.

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