Red Sox Prepare To Retire Ortiz’s No. 34

Festivities to honor David Ortiz are already underway as the Red Sox prepare to honor Big Papi by retiring his number 34 before Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. For only the eleventh time in their history, the Red Sox will retire the number of one of its greats. What makes this retirement ceremony unique is that it has only been eight months since Ortiz played his last game.

Retiring Ortiz’s number so soon reflects a deep love and appreciation for Big Papi. OrtizRed Sox Prepare wasn’t just a great hitter who played most of his career in Boston. Ortiz was a symbol of hope in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. His words, “This is our f–king city!” became a rallying cry for discouraged Bostonians. Later that fall his home run against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS staved off defeat and allowed the Red Sox to advance to the World Series. In a time when Hall of Fame-caliber players are few and far in between, Ortiz’s heroics not only made the Red Sox great, but made baseball even greater.

Qualifications Have Waned in Recent Years As Red Sox Prepare For Jersey Retirement

The Red Sox used to have very strict requirements when it came to retiring a jersey number. The strict set of requirements allowed a select few to see their numbers retired. First, the player had to have played for the Red Sox for ten years. Second, he has to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Third, he had to have retired with the Red Sox. While those rules stood for many years, one by one, the Red Sox accommodate other greats who didn’t meet the requirements.

Carlton Fisk, the greatest catcher in Red Sox history, finished his career with the Chicago White Sox. Pedro Martinez didn’t play ten years with the Red Sox, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. Johnny Pesky isn’t a Hall of Famer, but his service to the team over the course of sixty years earned him a spot among the retired.

While Ortiz didn’t have to wait for induction into the Hall of Fame to see his number retired, his induction will happen. Some say Ortiz won’t be a first ballot Hall of Famer. Allegations surrounding his use of PEDs have haunted him for years. Those allegations should have little to no impact on the BBWAA when Ortiz becomes eligible. One this is for sure though. Bostonians will pack the small town of Cooperstown when it comes time to induct Ortiz.

David Ortiz Continues To Show Class

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 playersDavid Ortiz continues 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.