Credit: John Angelillo
Even though David Ortiz’s last game at Fenway will come during the playoffs in the regular season’s final series the Sox took the time to honor their retiring icon. The Red Sox pulled out all the stops including naming a bridge after the slugger and revealing that next season number 34 will be retired. This broke a Red Sox rule as the previous players who got their number retired were first elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame and long after their first year of retirement. This shows just how much Ortiz has not only meant to the franchise but also Boston. Not only has he come up with clutch after clutch hit but his impact can be seen in the community far and wide. His wide smile is not only a symbol for the Red Sox but all of baseball. No one will ever have the effect he has had as he is a once and a lifetime player. In an era when it is not the norm for a player to spend most of his career with one team Ortiz did that. Ortiz will retired having played nineteen major league seasons only six of those without the Red Sox. He’s been with the Sox through the highs including three championships and lows when the Sox finished in last place. Through all the change and the heroes on those championship teams one thing has remained constant and that’s Ortiz. When people are asked what is your favorite Papi moment there are so many to choose from its hard to pick one .Through all the criticism and people who said he was done after 2009 his drive never wavered but only increased . That is why fans love him so much. This man never quits no matter the deficit. Just look at his postseason stats as justification.
He single handily carried the Sox on his back as they did the impossible in 2004 and came back from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Yankees en route to the Sox first championship in 86 years. He did the same in the 2013 playoffs as the Red Sox offense was dead until he brought it back to life with one swing. There’s also the countless other clutch hits however this post would be ten pages long if I included them all. Ortiz did not just lift fans with his bat. After the Boston Marathon bombings Ortiz’s speech at Fenway gave the city a source of strength after its darkest hours. He embraced the city of Boston as his home and it embraced him right back. The Red Sox will forever be thankful to Pedro Martinez for convincing the Sox to sign him when the Twins designated him for assignment after the 2002 season. It’s hard to think where the Red Sox would be as since Papi joined the team the Sox have been one of the most successful teams in Baseball. It’s hard to picture a Red Sox lineup without 34 in it or that wide smile in the dugout. He will be remembered in highlight reels and the record books as they are stained with his accomplishments. From the many homeruns and to having one of the best final hoorahs in baseball and sports history. Next season there will be no Ortiz or number 34 in the Red Sox lineup. He however will never be forgotten as he is not only a hero but a legend and legends never die. As Red Sox fans and fans around the world watch the playoffs this year take some time and take in Big Papi’s last at bats. There will never be another big Papi both as a baseball player and person. Although its bittersweet it’s been a pleasure to watch this man change Boston and Baseball in more ways that a person can count.