“It Was Fun” – When Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. Lost to David Ortiz in a Minor League Baseball Home Run Derby

Published 07/16/2022, 9:30 AM EDT

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David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz once defeated Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. in a Home Run Derby. The event dates way back to when the trio was skinny and fresh-faced with young legs. Relatively unknown at that point in time, Ortiz was only tagged as an upcoming talent. But he had already demonstrated glimpses of a bright future. 

Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. got their MLB career started with the Seattle Mariners. While David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz played for the Mariners’ Class A team in the Minor League before entering Major League. The three of them turned Hall Of Fame inductees with stellar playing careers. All three of them established their reputation as legendary baseball figures.


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Before playing baseball for the Minnesota Twins in the Major League, David Ortiz played for Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Based in Milwaukee, the Rattlers are a Minor League baseball team, then affiliated to the Mariners (until the year 2009). The Rattlers play their home games in Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. When the Mariners traveled to the venue for a Home Run Derby promotional in the 1990s, David Ortiz proved his mettle.

Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. were stunned by David Ortiz 

In the year 1996, the Seattle Mariners visited their then Minor League affiliate team Timber Rattlers. The purpose was to challenge the players for a Home Run Derby. Whoever accepted the challenge was up against Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. Two budding talents back then, who were already MLB heroes in the Mariners jersey. It was the then Mariners’ catcher, Dan Wilson, who chose the picks on his team’s behalf. So David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz stood up to the challenge and displayed his hitting skills with the utmost freedom.


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‘A-Rod’ saw glimpses of a probable future champion in ‘Big Papi’. While Griffey Jr. was struggling to hit the ball with his natural flair, ‘Big Papi’ was at the top of his game. ‘A-Rod’, a batting virtuoso himself, got reduced to a mere spectator. The cameras even caught ‘A-Rod’ saying at once, “Oh My God! Look at that guy! I ain’t got a chance.”  


Speaking about the event later Ortiz quoted, “The first team that I signed with was Seattle, and Ken Griffey was everybody’s favorite, especially a left-handed hitter like me. Now he’s there in Appleton to have a home run derby. It’s Griffey and A-Rod, and I’m going to be a part of it. Everybody was excited. I was hitting balls onto the highway, bro. Like it was crazy. I could see they were impressed with what I was doing, and they were the guys in the big leagues. I was just playing A-ball. It was fun. I’ll never forget that.” 

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Mike Goff, David Ortiz’s manager on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, praised Ortiz’s performance, saying “I think some of the Mariners were embarrassed by what Davey did to them in that competition and I loved every single minute of it.” 

The final score of the derby 


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While Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. added eight home runs to their combined tally, David Ortiz alone slammed seven home runs. This means Ortiz was the winner of the homer count against either Rodriguez or Griffey Jr. taken alone. Although Dan Wilson finally out-homered Ortiz, it was still Ortiz who made the everlasting impression on that day through his stylish play. Ortiz carried the same magnificence into his Major League career too.


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Does anyone know anything more about David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz’s feats from his days as a Minor League Baseball player?

Watch This Story“Big Problem At The Moment” – Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez Asks For Help From Fans 


Written by:

Madhurjya Bhuyan


One take at a time

Madhurjya Bhuyan is an MLB author at EssentiallySports. He has a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in English Literature from Gauhati University and IGNOU, respectively, and also possesses prior professional experience as a content developer. Being a performance artist since childhood, Madhurjya has always aimed to contribute towards creativity in any possible manner, and writing only boosts that desire.
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Edited by:

Vibhanshu Kumar