My Introduction to the Red Sox and Big Papi
The year was 1981, and I just graduated college and moved to the Boston area for my first job. I arrived sporting a Yankee hat and left wearing a Red Sox cap, a short 3 years later in 1984. To the great dismay of my NY friends and family, it did not take long for me to be impressed with the Red Sox fan base and their beloved Fenway Park. I have worn the badge ever since – going through ups and downs – as I watched the team battle to bury the Curse of the Bambino.
Time moved on and I joined the Happy Losers Club. We loved our team and watched them break our hearts over and over for years, we almost won it all in 1986, but I guess the stars were not aligned right, fate was not on our side. Seventeen more years we rode the roller coaster, watching the team climb out of a gutter only to get beat down in a division or league championship.
Come 2003, the stars began to align. The team picked up a 28-year-old free agent who was let go by the Minnesota Twins, due to his inconsistent playing and numerous injuries. That man was no other than David “Big Papi” Ortiz, #34. The Red Sox almost won the ALCS that year but, as baseball history shows, that was only the start of the magical moments to come, as Big Papi started to shine. He had the 5th most votes for MVP in 2003.
2004 – The Curse is Broken
2004 was just an amazing year for the Red Sox Nation and Big Papi, as he hit 41 home runs with 139 RBIs and batted .301 with an OPS of .983 in the regular season. He was showing how clutch he was. Then came the playoffs where he shined, with a .409 batting average including 5 home runs and 23 RBIs. He carried the team with game ending hits.
Big Papi hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of Game 3 to win the American League Division Series against the Anaheim Angels. Of course we will never forget the 12th inning two run walk off in the ALCS against the New York Yankees. That hit fixed the momentum that included a walk off single in the 14th inning of game 5 and sparking the team to carry the next two games. Due to his heroics, the Red Sox became the first team in MLB to come back from a best of seven, 3 game deficit, and win the ALCS. Big Papi became the first designated hitter to win the MVP.
I would have hated to be the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. The Red Sox rolled over them in 4 straight games including game 1, where Ortiz jacked a three-run home run in the 1st inning of Game 1 at Fenway Park. That homer cemented a path to absolute victory and the first Word Series win in 86 years breaking the Curse of the Bambino. As history shows they went on to win 2 more in the 21st century in 2007 and 2013.
Big Papi just kept rolling on over the years, and this year, at the age of 40 he set numerous records for a player of his age, even as he announced his retirement. Now that his last regular season game is complete, the stats speak for him:
- Batting average: .286
- Hits: 2,472
- Home runs: 541
- RBIs: 1,768
Big Papi wears three World Series rings (2004, 2007, 2013). He is a 10× All-Star (2004–2008, 2010–2013, 2016), a World Series MVP (2013), a ALCS MVP (2004), a 6× Silver Slugger Award (2004–2007, 2011, 2013. a 7× Edgar Martínez Award holder (2003–2007, 2010, 2013), the AL home run leader (2006), and 2× AL RBI leader (2005, 2006).
Post season is about to start and I will be watching ever game and swing of the bat from Big Papi. It will be sad to see him leave, but it is better to go out on top I suppose. I can speak for the whole Red Sox Nation when I say; I can only hope he will lead the team to a 4th Word Series title in the 21st century.
Keeping the Big Papi Legend Alive
During my visit to Tabacalera El Artista this year, I learned about a project to produce a cigar for Big Papi. The company has had a personal relationship with David Ortiz for several years, In fact, they started making a cigar for him in 2013. David worked on the blend and they would send him about 100 cigars a month for his smoking enjoyment as well as for the many charity events he participates in or hosts.
After about 2 years and lots of great feedback on the cigar, David asked Radhames Rodriguez if they could take the blend commercial. They launched it at IPCPR 2016 and it promptly sold out!
According to the company:
The prodigy from Santo Domingo returns to his Dominican roots with yet another big hit but this time he’s not holding big league maple, rather he’s smoking an exceptional premium cigar.
We teamed up David “Big Papi” Ortiz to bring to life a Dominican Dream Team of tobaccos in a one of a kind premium cigar. This remarkable cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano Claro wrapper that imparts hints of pepper and chestnut. Criollo 98 binder adds a touch of cream, and the filler brings it all together with players from Dominican Republic and Nicaragua for a medium-bodied smoke that’s a solid hit.
The Big Papi – by David Ortiz, is available in one vitola, a 6 x 54 Toro
Big Papi Cigar Review Notes
The Big Papi has a silky smooth, milk chocolate-brown, Ecuadorian Habano Claro wrapper. It is nicely capped and has a spicy sweet aroma along the barrel and a sweet foot. The cigar is well packed just like Big Papi’s stats.
The cigar is adorned with a white band that has a silhouette of Big Papi in his classic fingers to the sky pose. The words “Big Papi” are written across in black with the words “by David Ortiz” in red, down on the right. The back of the band has the Republic of Domincana flag. The words “Orgullo Dominicano” (Dominican Pride) are printed in red, below the flag, along with Tabacalera El Artista and the El Artista logo. There is also a red satin footer band to complete the presentation.
Around the Bases
- Cold draw has some light pepper and a sprinkle of fruit
- On first light, there is a touch of pepper with a finish of coffee and raisin on first few puffs
- Pepper pulls back quickly, as if that was a check swing, and a sweet creamy coffee remains
- Solid ash is developing
- Medium char line
- Wrapper starts to oil up after an inch of burn
- The coffee becomes more pronounced moving to more of a cafecito with a sliver of citrus peel gracing the top
- Smoke is medium in body
- A delicate spice aroma begins to waft into the lounge
- Coffee notes faded as it moved into the second third and a gentle spice lingers with a background of roasted chestnut
- Sweet cedar enters end of second third continues through the end
- Finished solid medium in strength
- Smoking time was just over 90 minutes
Overall the Big Papi cigar by David Ortiz is by far, the best celebrity cigar I have smoked. The man knows his cigars. The burn was perfect throughout and the flavors transitioned well. I particularly enjoyed the savory coffee and chestnut notes. Even though David Ortiz is retiring I hope this cigar remains available now and in the future.
When I spoke to El Artista, they told me once the post season is finished, they plan on going on tour with Big Papi to promote this gem of a cigar. Once the schedule is fixed we will release a press announcement. In the mean time, I am told the Big Papi will be available in a few weeks through Two Guys Smoke Shop.