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That Time a 20-Year-Old David Ortiz Decimated Baseballs in Front of Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr.

Back in 1996, long before being elected into the Hall of Fame, David Ortiz was hitting home runs in front of an astonished Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr.

David Ortiz will be enshrined at Cooperstown. He was elected into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, which left baseball fans reflecting on a career and powerful, iconic compact home run swing.

In 2010, he brought down the house at the Home Run Derby. But it was 16 years prior when one of the most poignant memories floating around the transom of the internet took place.

Ortiz was 20 years old when, dressed in his Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers uniform and doused in the anonymity of the minor leagues, he took on MLB superstars Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez in an impromptu home run derby that lives in infamy.

The following video is a KIRO report on that very moment. A stunned Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. stand in amazement as this kid just hits bombs over the fence.

We now know that kid would become the Ortiz we all know and the man we all refer to as Big Papi. The Mariners organization would send him to the Minnesota Twins that very same year. Released in 2002, he would then sign as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox in 2003.

That is when he rocketed to become the legendary left-hand hitter who had a knack for seizing the moment.

A 2016 ESPN report breaks down some of the nuances of the 1996 home run derby. It was a chance encounter that took place when a Mariners barnstorming event paused due to rain. Rather than play a game, organizers pivoted and decided to throw some MLB bats at whatever minor-league sluggers the Timber Rattlers had.

One of them happened to be a future hall of famer. “I was hitting balls onto the highway, bro," Ortiz told ESPN in ‘96. “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."

The moment remains the stuff of legend. A snapshot of what would become so incredibly commonplace in MLB.

“I stole the show,” Ortiz told ESPN. And he continued to do just that through 20 years in the bigs.