David Ortiz, 54, 2006
Already “The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox" based on his heroics in the 2004 postseason, the 30-year-old Ortiz provided some highlights during an otherwise forgettable season during which the injury-wracked Sox missed the postseason for the only time between 2003 and '09. Big Papi clubbed 10 homers in April and ranked third in the league in homers through the end of June, with 23. He started July with an eight-game, eight-homer binge and finished the month with 14, enough to give him a league-leading 37. With another 10 in August, he matched his career high, set the previous year, but an irregular heartbeat sidelined him for eight games at the end of the month and into September, and he added just one from that point through Sept. 16.
On Sept. 20 against the Twins—who had non-tendered him four years earlier—he tied Jimmie Foxx's franchise record of 50 homers, set in 1938, and the next day he surpassed with another pair against his old team. His 54 homers led the league, 10 more than runner-up Jermaine Dye of the White Sox.