As the sun sets on his career, David Ortiz continues to show class and respect to friends and foes alike. Throughout the season, Ortiz has remained humble as opposing teams shower him with gifts and admiration that caps a 20-year career in the majors. The gifts themselves are more than apporopriate. The Houston Astros gave “Big Papi” a custom-made black Stetson cowboy hat. The Seattle Mariners gave him 34 pounds of salmon. The Kansas City Royals gave Ortiz a chair from the 2013 All-Star Game. The Baltimore Orioles gave Ortiz the dugout phone he destroyed with a bat in 2013. But in all the tributes opposing teams have shown Ortiz, he has shown only gratitude in return.
It’s very rare for retiring players to receive this much attention. In recent years, only players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Cal Ripken Jr. have received such honors. With the first two for-sure Hall of Famers, and Ripken already inducted, it’s all but guaranteed that Ortiz will enter the hall in his first year of eligibility. What makes David Ortiz such an icon isn’t just his numbers, or his clutch hitting. It’s his ability to inspire confidence, hope, and selflessness in the wake of tragedy.
As David Ortiz Continues His Farewell Tour, His Humbleness Ensues
Bostonians remember Ortiz’s famous words days after the Boston Marathon Bombing. The words “This is our f—ing city!” rang through Fenway Park when Americans needed to hear it. Red Sox fans’ spirits soared with the grand slam ball he hit in the 2013 ALCS championship game. Perhaps the most humble gesture of all, however, is his observance of the death of Jose Fernandez, who recently died in a boating accident on September 25th in Miami, Florida.
Before Fernandez’s death, the Tampa Bay Rays were set to honor David Ortiz before Sunday’s game. Instead, Ortiz asked the Rays to cancel the ceremony in honor of the Marlins’ ace. So a moment of silence in memory of the late pitcher’s death took its place. Standing alongside his teammates, tears ran down Ortiz’s face as he remembered his friend, Jose Fernandez.
As David Ortiz continues his journey into the sunset of his career, fans and foes alike will remember Big Papi’s grace, agility, and presence. Intimidating as he is kind, hulking as he is humble, David Ortiz will forever live in the memories of anyone who saw him play.