Ortiz, who was in the derby from 2004-06, became the first Red Sox player to win the competition. Ortiz hit eight homers in the first round and 13 more in round two before tying the record for most homers in a last round. Bobby Abreu had that many in 2005 when he won with a record total of 41 long balls hit at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
It was a slow start to the regular season for Ortiz, who had one home run in April, but he has 18 at the All-Star break. His 32 homers at the derby are third-most all-time, behind Abreu and Josh Hamilton, who hit 35 in 2008.
“It was good that they put me towards the end, because I get tired pretty easy when I hit and shut it down for a while,” Ortiz said. “So when I don’t have to wait that long period of time, I guess it helped me out.”
Ramirez was also on target with nine in round one and 12 more the ensuing round, but he belted just five in the final round.
After his sixth out, Ortiz arrived at home plate and gave Ramirez a drink, wiped his forehead and encouraged the 26-year-old, but he hit just one more homer.
“I told him, ‘hey, take it easy, don’t get too tired, take your time, because that’s what the Home Run Derby is all about.’ I’m not really worried about winning or losing. I’m worried about the fans having a good show and I think he did a hell of a job,” Ortiz said.
Ramirez actually played with Ortiz, albeit briefly in 2005. Ramirez was then traded that offseason from Boston to the Marlins.
“I think that things happen for a reason in our careers, and of course, I wish Hanley would be playing on our team, like he was supposed to be,” Ortiz said. “But the move that the Red Sox did back then was good for both sides. It was good for us, they gave us Beck (Josh Beckett) and (Derek) Lowe, and they got Hanley which is an unbelievable superstar that can play the game so good. I think it was really good for him, really good for us. Of course, I wish he would have been playing here on the Red Sox, but there are things that happen that we cannot control.”
After the event, Ortiz dedicated his win to former major league pitcher Jose Lima, who died in May due to cardiac arrest.
Each batter was given 10 outs in every round of the competition, which is held in advance of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
Milwaukee right fielder Corey Hart hit the most home runs in the first round with 13, but then had to wait nearly 1 1/2 hours for his turn in the second round and was shut out. Because the homers from the first and second rounds were totaled to determine the final two participants, Hart was eliminated.
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who has 22 homers at the All-Star break, barely made it out of the first round with seven homers and added just five to that total in round two.
St. Louis’ Matt Holliday (5), the Yankees’ Nick Swisher (4), Toronto’s Vernon Wells (2) and Arizona’s Chris Young (1) didn’t make it out of the first round. Holliday, though, had the distinction of hitting the longest homer of the night at 497 feet.