BOSTON — (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – David Ortiz had seemingly won and done it all throughout his storied 20-year career.
Three World Series championships and a World Series MVP Award. Seven American League Silver Slugger and two Hank Aaron awards. Ten All-Star Game appearances.
BOSTON, MA – JUNE 23: Former Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz reacts during his number retirement ceremony at Fenway Park on June 23, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Oh, and an unforgettable ALCS MVP performance in 2004 against the New York Yankees to help lead the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.
But the honor bestowed upon the man they call Big Papi on Friday night at Fenway Park cemented his legacy forever in the city of Boston.
“That happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be out there hanging with those guys,” Ortiz said after the Red Sox retired his iconic No. 34 in a pregame ceremony.
Ortiz is the 11th player to have his number retired by the Red Sox and the first since the team retired Wade Boggs’ No. 26 last May.
“Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in it,” Ortiz said. “It takes a special people to do a special thing and … be able to have their number retired up there.”
Pedro Martinez, who had his No. 45 retired by the team in 2015 and lobbied the Red Sox to sign Ortiz as a free agent, was among Ortiz’s former teammates present at the ceremony and addressed the crowd.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who teamed with Ortiz on the 2007 and 2013 World Series teams, also spoke.
Ortiz spent 14 of his 20 seasons with the Red Sox from 2003 to 2016 after breaking in with the Twins and playing six seasons with Minnesota.
The family of late Twins great Kirby Puckett, who Ortiz said wore the number 34 in honor of, also greeted Ortiz on the field during the ceremony.
“When I first started wearing the jersey, that number, I was just happy and proud of doing it because of him,” Ortiz said. “Never thought about my number being, hanging up there with all those legendaries.”
Ortiz hit .290 with 483 home runs and 1,530 RBIs in 1,953 career games with Boston. He trails only Ted Williams on the Red Sox’s all-time home runs list and ranks third in franchise history in RBIs.
Asked about his future with the organization, Ortiz said he has been in conversation with Boston’s front office about a role with the team but hasn’t hammered anything down yet.
“It’s going to happen,” he said. “At some point, I’m going to be able to help out somehow, some way.”