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the name comes from Ortiz's arrival at fenway. He did not know anyone's name so he called everyone papi. So natuarally, everyone started calling him 'the big papi' which was shortened to big papi.

Alternate answer from tcbagadonuts

I would love to be proven correct but I suggest that Pedro Martinez called him Big Papi first probably in March 2003 at Spring training in Fla. Nomar and Manny laughed in approval. over time Manny Ramirez sold it. I figure Ortiz himself so wanted to be this 'Big Papi' that through his actions and across many months as he strove to get his batting swing right in order to make an impact. Remember Ortiz got to hit sparingly in the 1st half of 2003. Papi's first home run of the season, however, was a game-winning blast in the 14th inning of an April 27 game against the Anaheim Angels, Not until July 3rd did he pick up his 5th hr. Then over 4th of July weekend he hit Four HR's in 2 games against the Yankees! to increase from 4 to 9 Hr's in 3 days! With that performance and thereafter I figure Kevin Millar made it Ok for Anglos as all were sold that Ortiz was indeed "...a super clutch hitter and a worthy team leader"-My definition of "Big Papi" for the Dictionary! - Tony C - from Martha's V

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Q: Where did the nickname Big Papi come from?
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