Ordonez left great memories in Detroit, and great what-ifs in Boston
Magglio Ordonez made history in Detroit, with the home run that put the Tigers in their first World Series in 22 years and then the team's first batting title in 46 years. Would he have done the same in Boston, had a proposed February 2004 trade to the Red Sox gone through?
BOSTON -- Magglio Ordonez hit the biggest home run in recent Tiger history.
Would he have done the same for the Red Sox?
I don't know that, but I do know this: Ordonez loved hitting at Fenway Park, and often wondered how things would have turned out had the Red Sox traded for him in February 2004, as they tried to. The deal (which would have sent Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox) didn't happen, only because a companion deal of Manny Ramirez for Alex Rodriguez fell through over problems restructuring A-Rod's contract.
A year later, the Tigers signed Ordonez as a free agent, and a year after that, he put them in the World Series with his ALCS-ending home run off Oakland's Huston Street.
Things worked out just fine for the Tigers. Things worked out just fine for Ordonez, who will officially retire on Sunday in Detroit.
He helped turn around a franchise that hadn't been to the playoffs for 18 years before he arrived. He became the first Tiger since Norm Cash to win a batting title, and was a near-MVP (finishing second behind his almost-teammate Rodriguez in 2007).
"He gave us a lot of great memories," Tiger manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday.
We can only wonder what memories he'd have given the Red Sox. Given his career numbers at Fenway (a .354 batting average and 1.001 OPS that was his highest at any American League ballpark), it's a good bet they would have been great ones.