David Ortiz is in his final season. You know this, so you don't need the reminder -- like, emotionally speaking -- but it's a fact we have to come to terms with. Everything he does is going to be adorned with some "the last time Ortiz does X" kind of talk, and his movement up the all-time home run leaderboards is no different.
On Tuesday, Ortiz's 505th homer put him into sole possession of 26th place on the all-time list, ahead of Hall of Fame slugger Eddie Murray. If all goes well in 2016, he won't be the last player he passes before he's done.
In the sixth inning, facing the Indians' Carlos Carrasco, Ortiz went deep to right-center with a shot that would have left whichever park it was hit in. It had a nifty historical touch to it, too, as it came in the same park that Eddie Murray had his last great season in back in 1995, when it was still referred to as Jacobs Field instead of Progressive.
This is just the start for Ortiz, but it's also the last climb up the home run leaderboard he'll be able to make given it's his final campaign. With Murray now behind him, Ortiz's next target is Gary Sheffield and his 509 dingers. Then it's a trio of Hall of Famers with Mel Ott at 511, and both of Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews at 512. If Ortiz topples that bunch, then former Red Sox great Ted Williams is next up at 521, tied with recent Cooperstown induction Frank Thomas as well as Giants' great Willie McCovey.
After that, it's going to depend on the kind of final season Ortiz has, as Jimmie Foxx is next on the list at 18th all-time, but with 534 homers -- 29 more than Ortiz has right now. Following Foxx is the last player Ortiz can leapfrog unless he suddenly morphs into the 54-homer version of himself from 2006, Mickey Mantle. Mantle is at 536, in 17th-place all-time, and after him is Mike Schmidt at 548.
David Ortiz is many things, most of them impossible at age 37, 38, 39, and maybe now 40, but it's probably asking a bit much for him to hit 46 homers this year. But hey, he went deep 37 times in 2015, so who knows. This is David Ortiz we're talking about.
Regardless of how many he ends up putting into orbit before strutting around the bases, make sure you savor them all. Every Ortiz homer puts us one step closer to the last one, until we're actually seeing the final swaggy rounding of the bases he's got to him.