A letter to the iconic David Ortiz, who will retire from the game of baseball now that the Boston Red Sox have been eliminated from the postseason.
Now that your final tip of the cap to baseball is past us, there are a few things that Boston Red Sox fans need to thank you for.
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Personally, I’d like to thank you for creating my never ending relationship with the Red Sox. I was born in 1997, when Boston was a city of nothing but heart breaks when it came to sports. However, it was particularly the Red Sox as they were in the midst of a curse where they hadn’t won a championship since 1918.
Before 2004, Red Sox fans were trained to expect heartache no matter how successful their regular season was. You were the one who changed that, the one who came through during the most crucial times, the one who dawns the name “Senor Octubre.”
Yes, of course, Ted Williams was the best hitter in Red Sox history, Yaz created ‘hope’ for the Red Sox for several years but never got the job done. Guys like Mo Vaughn, Jim Rice and Dustin Pedroia won MVP’s but NO ONE has ever been more important to a franchise than David Ortiz.
Sep 4, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) waives to the crowd as he enters the dugout before the start of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
In 2004 I was seven years old and I can just remember the roller coaster ride that this Red Sox team had taken us faithful fans on. That October was the year the legacy of Big Papi began. Whether it was the walk-off home run off of Paul Quantrill in the 12th inning of Game 4 or his bloop single walk-off in Game 5 vs Mariano Rivera, we jumped on your back and rode your bat all the way to the finish line.
Or nine years later, in 2013, when several people thought your career was over following several injuries that forced you to decline. You launched arguably the most clutch hit in Red Sox history, launching a grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS that saved the Red Sox season and led them to their third title in nine years. You hit .688 on baseball’s biggest stage, once again, having the entire city jump on your back.
Or earlier in that 2013 season, when it was your first game back in just under a year, you gave resilient Bostonians something to smile about just five days after the Boston Marathon bombings, something that was bigger than baseball. I was at this game and I can honestly say it was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. When you took the microphone, you spoke from your heart because you loved the Red Sox, you loved the city of Boston but most importantly, you loved US.
You see? You were known for late inning heroics, a big smile and passion for the game, but what you did for the city of Boston and the fans here is something we can never forget and is why it is so hard to say goodbye to such an icon.
So, thank you for the three rings. Whether it was The Idiots in 2004, or the Bearded Brothers in 2013, we jumped on your back every single year and rode you all the way to the finish line. Thank you for being a leader on and off the field. For taking pride in your city more than anyone else. For taking this city of losers for almost a century, and making it a city of champions.
I’ll never forget the walk-offs in 2004, the day you took the microphone in one hand and your heart in the other, the grand slam in 2013. You showed no weakness and gave us fellow Bostonians faith and hope for the future.
Thank you for the impossible, the hugs, the smiles but most importantly thank you for being the centerpiece of the Golden Age of this franchise.