I decided to take a look at Papi's postseason history with the Sox, season-by-season and game-by-game. The main reason was so that I could summarize the highlights for my father, who has really only gotten seriously into baseball the last 4 or 5 years, as well as a couple other friends and family members. I realize this is probably kind of redundant with other posts and articles out there, so I apologize if it just reads as "noise". I enjoyed going through the boxscores and play-by-play summaries for the last decade+ of Red Sox postseason games, so I thought I'd share my summary with all of you as well.
A look at Big Papi’s postseason legacy:
2003 - Papi’s first season on the Sox
ALDS – BOS vs OAK
In the best of 5-game series, OAK was up 2 games to 0. Sox won the 3rd game to make it 2-1.
Postseason Legacy Moment #1: 10/05/03 - ALDS Game 4 at Fenway. OAK was up 4-3 in the 8th. Bottom of the 8th, Foulke was pitching for OAK, with Manny at 1B, Nomar at 3B, and 2 outs. OAK was 4 outs away from closing out the series. Then Papi stepped in. With a full count, Papi hit a double to deep RF, scoring Manny and Nomar. Sox won 5-4. They also won Game 5, completing the amazing series comeback.
ALCS – BOS vs NYY
Papi got the Sox going in Game 1, with a HR off Mussina in the 4th, as the Sox took the first game of the series. In Game 6, Papi drove in the winning run with a single in the 7th, to even the series 3-3. Of course, it was all in vain thanks to Aaron ****ing Boone in Game 7. Papi didn’t like the taste it left in his mouth…not one bit.
2004 – 1st Championship in 86 years
ALDS – BOS vs LAA
In the best of 5-game series, the Sox won the first 2 in Anaheim before heading back to Fenway for Game 3.
Postseason Legacy Moment #2: 10/08/04 - ALDS Game 3 at Fenway. A 5-run 7th inning for the Angels ended up sending the game to extra innings. Bottom of the 10th, with Pokey Reese at 1B (pinch-runner for Bellhorn) and 2 outs, LAA brought in the lefty Jarrod Washburn to face Papi. He hit the first pitch over the Green Monster for the walkoff win, sending the Sox to the ALCS.
ALCS – BOS vs NYY
Yankees won the first 3 games, including a 19-8 thrashing at Fenway in Game 3. Papi had 6 hits in the first 3 games, but it didn’t matter.
Postseason Legacy Moment #3: 10/17/04 - ALCS Game 4 at Fenway. After the legendary steal by the pinch-runner, Dave Roberts, the Sox scored the tying run off Rivera in the 9th. Then in the bottom of the 12th, Paul Quantril allowed a leadoff single to Manny, bringing up Papi. With a 2-1 count, Papi homered to RF for his second walk-off HR off the postseason. Sox were alive for another day.
Postseason Legacy Moment #4: 10/18/04 - ALCS Game 5 at Fenway. Going to the bottom of the 8th, the Yanks were up 4-2…2 innings from closing out the series. Papi led off the inning with a HR to CF off Tom Gordon, rattling Gordon, who ended up allowing 2 more baserunners and the tying run. The game stayed at 4-4 for 6 more innings. In the bottom of the 14th inning, Esteban Loiaza came back in for a 3rd inning. After 2 walks and 2 Ks, there were runners at 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. Up came Papi. The at-bat went - swinging strike, ball, foul, foul, foul, ball, foul, foul, foul, SINGLE to CF…Damon scored, and the Sox won in walk-off fashion once again.
Then as we all know, the Sox went back to NY and won the last 2 games. Game 7 was an easy 10-3 victory, started by Papi’s 2-run HR off Kevin Brown in the 1st inning.
World Series – BOS vs STL
Sox swept the series, and once again Papi started the whole thing, with a 3-run HR in the 1st inning of Game 1.
2005 – Fall back to Earth
ALDS – BOS vs CHW
Sox were swept in 3 games. Papi had 4 hits, including a HR, but it was not enough to help the inept Red Sox.
2007 – 2nd Championship
ALDS – BOS vs LAA
Once again, the Sox swept the Angels in the best of 5-game series. Papi was a major part of the sweep, with a 2-run HR in Game 1, 4 walks in Game 2 (and scored on Manny’s Game 2 walkoff HR), and another HR in Game 3.
ALCS – BOS vs CLE
No big clutch moments for Papi in the 7 game series, but he was productive, with 7 hits, 3 doubles, and 1 HR.
World Series – BOS vs COL
Sox swept the series; Papi had 5 hits, including 3 doubles.
No huge moments for Papi in the 2007 postseason, but he hit .370 with 3 HR in the 14 games.
2008 – Fall back to Earth, part 2
ALDS – BOS vs LAA (for the third time in 5 years)
In the best of 5-game series, Sox won Game 1.
Postseason Legacy Moment #5: 10/03/08 - ALDS Game 2 at Anaheim. The Angels rallied with runs in the 7th and 8th innings to tie the game at 5-5. In the top of the 9th, Papi led off against Francisco Rodriguez. He doubled to deep RF on the first pitch he saw. 2 batters later, JD Drew hit a 2-run HR. Sox won 7-5, and went on to win the series in 4 games.
ALCS – BOS vs TB
Through the first 4 games, the Sox were down 3-1 and Papi had managed just 1 hit.
Postseason Legacy Moment #6: 10/16/08 - ALCS Game 5 at Fenway. The Rays were up 7-0 in the middle of the 7th inning, just 9 outs from an easy game and series victory. Bottom of the 7th, Grant Balfour came in for the Rays. After scoring 1 run, the Sox had Pedroia on 1B and Crisp on 3B, with 2 outs. Then Papi came up to bat. After seeing a ball, Papi hit the 2nd pitch to RF for a 3-run HR, making it a 7-4 game. Sox won in dramatic fashion, 8-7.
Sox won Game 6 as well, before losing Game 7 to a disgusting (literally) Matt Garza.
Papi’s overall season was a sharp downturn from his previous seasons on the Sox.
2009 – The end for Papi?
ALDS – BOS vs LAA
Finally, the Angels beat the Sox, in a 3-game sweep. Papi was 1-for-12 with 4 Ks, closing out his worst MLB season to date, prompting many to conclude that his career was winding down and his days of being a productive everyday DH were over.
2013 – TBD
ALDS – BOS vs TB
Big series for Papi, including the 2 HR off Price in Game 2, as well as reaching base in 7 consecutive trips to the plate. Overall he was 5-for-13 with 5 BB and 2 HR in the 4 games.
ALCS – BOS vs DET
After the Sox lost Game 1 and managed just 1 hit through the first 14 innings of the series, Papi came through big-time.
Postseason Legacy Moment #7: 10/13/13 - ALCS Game 2 at Fenway. Hopefully everyone still remembers this one. Sox had been completely shut down for a 2nd consecutive game. When Pedroia hit the single to load the bases, he clapped and looked back at Papi as if to say, "It’s all yours, Dave (I like to pretend Pedroia calls Papi "Dave")." And then Dave answered Pedroia’s call. In the process, he also destroyed Torii Hunter’s body and sent the entire park, city, state, and region into a frenzy.
Well, we know now that 2009 was a blip on the radar for Papi, as he has had 4 very productive seasons since then. Hopefully we still have 1 or 2 more Legacy Moments to add for Papi before the 2013 postseason is over.
Overall Postseason Numbers with the Sox: 7 seasons, 63 games, 16 2B, 15 HR, 50 RBI. .285 AVG, .406 OBP, .562 SLG. 13,000,000 fans delighted since 2003.