David Ortiz: From A Dominican Upbringing To 3-Time World Series Champion
Article Published by: forbes.com
I spoke to David Ortiz, the former designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox and author of Papi: My Story, about what he learned from his life growing up in the Dominican, some of his daily routines that help his performance, the game that he was most proud of and his best advice to you.
Nicknamed “Big Papi,” Ortiz is a ten-time major league All-Star, three-time World Series champion, and the all-time MLB record holder for home runs, RBIs, and hits by a designated hitter. In 2015, Ortiz was voted as one of the four greatest players in Boston Red Sox history — along with Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Pedro Martinez—by Red Sox fans. Originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 1992, Ortiz was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1996, where he played six seasons. Ortiz was released by the Twins and signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2003, where he spent the remainder of his career. Regarded as one of the best clutch hitters of all time, Ortiz had 11 career walk-off home runs during the regular season and two during the postseason.
Dan Schawbel: What did you learn about life during your upbringing in the Dominican? How has your childhood impacted your career and life choices? Looking back, what made your time with the Boston Red Sox so special? What did you learn from your teammates and what impact do you think had on them?
David Ortiz: I learned that nothing comes easy. When coming to the States from a different country, you have to make sure to have your A game every day. There is no room for failure or else they may give up on you. My family taught me hard work and education are the keys to life, and I can say now that those two ideas made me who I am today. I am a better person and player because of the way I was raised and the different cultures I learned and adapted to.
Schawbel: What are some of your daily routines that helped you become stronger, smarter and a better baseball player?
Ortiz: You have to keep your body right. As I got older, I realized it takes a bit longer to get your body prepared for a game. I would make sure I was in the clubhouse around 6 hours early to get all my pregame therapy in. it’s also very important to keep your mind sharp. I would watch plenty of tape on whoever I was facing that day so I was in the best position to succeed that day. So much of baseball is mental!
Schawbel: Tell us about a moment or a game that you were especially proud of and why it had a positive effect on you?
Ortiz: I would have to say winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2011. Of course the World Series Rings are very special to me, but being able to be great on the field and then be great enough off the field to be given an award? That’s something very special. The award is given to whoever best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team, and for a group of people to think I was the single best person that year? That’s something that makes me proud. I also was a big fan of Clemente, so that made it even better.
Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?
1. Do your job. Make sure you’re taking care of what you’re responsible for.
2. Be kind to the people around you. Teammates/coworkers are family, you spend a lot of your life with them, so treat them with respect and make sure you’re creating a positive vibe in the workplace.
3. Have fun. In order to do your job to the best of your ability, you must somewhat enjoy it. Have fun with what you do, and the results will take care of themselves.
About Jaime Bonetti Zeller
Jaime Bonetti Zeller is an investment professional and entrepreneur with businesses in multiple industries. He is president of Servicios Consulares Eurodom, the local partner in the Caribbean region for VFS Global, a leader global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. Jaime Bonetti Zeller also started the company Sofratesa de Panama inc., an organization in the engineering services industry located in Panama City.