Saying good-bye to ‘Big Papi’

Photo Credit: Parker Harrington

Red Sox slugger, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, made a stop on his farewell tour at Dodger Stadium to take on the Dodgers in a three-game interleague series. Most of the fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation when he made his way to the plate in the first inning in recognition of the 40-year-olds decorated 19-year career in the majors.

Usually a designated hitter in American League games, Ortiz started the game on Saturday playing first base before having to leave the game in the sixth inning complaining about general stiffness.  That was the first time in over a year that Ortiz made a rare appearance starting at first.  He made a couple dazzling, diving defensive plays in the field, but went 0-3 at the plate with one strikeout.

“He started to stiffen up overall,” Red Sox manger John Farrell said.  “First time he’s been on the field in nearly a year, but as I mentioned before the game, I felt like three or four at-bats was more beneficial for our team than one potential pinch-hit late in the game.”

Boston Red Sox slugger David Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons
Boston Red Sox slugger David Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Farrell’s decision also benefited the fans, as they were treated to a bigger dose of “Big Papi.”

Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis — who drove in the first run with an RBI single in the second inning, helping  the Dodgers capture the 3-0 shutout victory — lavished Ortiz with praise after the game.  This was the first time Ellis was behind the plate against the big Dominican.

“He was a great ambassador of the game,” Ellis said.  “He was a clutch player in a Hall-of-Fame career.  I’ll remember his enthusiasm for the game and infectious smile.  He was a bridge between Latin American and American players.”

Dodger shortstop Corey Seager also chimed-in about Ortiz.

“Growing up, I watched the Yankees, so it was fun watching him play,” Seager said.

Ortiz found it amusing when after the game, one of the reporters asked if he would play first base again in the future.

“Future?  What future?  The future is right now.  I’ve got no more future, buddy.  Have you been reading the newspapers?  I ain’t playing no more after this season.”

Here are just some of his accomplishments.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Ortiz is a 10-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, and holder of the Red Sox single-season record for home runs with 54, set during the 2006 season.  So far, he has hit 528 career homers, which ranks 19th on the MLB all-time home run list.  He’s also the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (472), RBI’s (1,529), and hits (2,136) by a designated hitter (DH).

In the 2013 World Series against the Cardinals, Ortiz hit home runs in both games 1 and 2, had 6 RBI’s and batted .688 as the Red Sox won the series 4-2.  As a result of his performance, he was named the MVP.

Along with Ortiz, Ted Williams, Carl Yastremski and Pedro Martinez were selected by fan voting as the four greatest players in Red Sox history (the “Franchise Four”) in an announcement before the 2015 All-Star game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Each time he crosses the plate after hitting a home run, Ortiz will always be remembered for looking up and pointing both index fingers to the heavens in tribute to his mother, Angela Rosa Arias, who died in a car crash in January 2002 at the age of 46.  Subsequently, many players in the league began to do the same.  Most notably, Albert Pujols.

So as the regular season ends, Dodger fans are hoping that somehow the Dodgers and Red Sox meet in the 2016 World Series so they get the opportunity to see Ortiz play again before he fades into the ether.

Steven Lieberman
About Steven Lieberman 29 Articles
Steven LIeberman is a veteran sports/arts/entertainment journalist. Lieberman has covered entertainment and professional sports, Including the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, for the past 14 years. Among his entertainment work, Lieberman covers concerts, theatre and events.