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'Big Papi' in name
Subscribe to USA TODAYAlready a print edition subscriber, but don't have a login?Activate your digital access.Manage your account settings.My AccountLog OutDavid Ortiz: Papi in name and actions Jorge L. EST November 17, 2015David Ortiz takes his role as a mentor for younger players seriously.(Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)While working on a story last spring about the similarities between David Ortiz and Twins DH Kennys Vargas Buy Men Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber White Ireland big dudes with even larger personalities who began their careers in Minnesota I was surprised to find out Big Papi had often invited the young slugger over for dinner at his home in Fort Myers, Fla.Then I learned Vargas was just one of several youngsters the Boston Red Sox DH had taken under his wing, without regard for which team they played for."I'll get a group going and we'll cook in my house and chat, get to know each other, teach them some things,'' Ortiz said at the time. "It's like a chain.Watch: David Ortiz 13 most memorable momentsAs his nickname suggests, Big Papi became a fatherly figure for plenty a player looking to find his way in the majors, dispensing advice on hitting, mental preparation, dealing with the news media or any of the myriad off the field matters that can affect a player.Much like former teammate and close friend Torii Hunter, who announced his retirement this month, Ortiz has long been a go to guy for young players and news reporters seeking wisdom.His relationship with the sometimes rapacious New England media hasn't always been cordial.He has railed against those who accused him of using performance enhancing drugs, arguing that his failed drug test in 2003 was because of tainted supplements.He engaged in a seemingly yearly debate with those who would react to his slow starts by claiming he was done, only to bounce back and produce yet another 30 home run, 100 RBI season.But Ortiz would typically stand up and answer the questions in good times and bad, and he never failed to entertain. He even became a regular on ESPN commercials, whether poking fun at his pre at bat routine or playing off the Red Sox New York Yankees rivalry.David Ortiz retiring after 2016 seasonThere have been lots more talented players than Ortiz, a DH for most of his career, but few have had such a larger than life persona, forged through postseason exploits that mighthave put the finishing touches on his plaque in Cooperstown.