Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, also known as “Big Papi” among the Red Sox faithful, has revealed that he is going to draw curtains on what should be considered a memorable career after the 2016 season.
Ortiz, who was one of the most important members of the Red Sox roster that ended an almost 100-year wait for a World Series title, said that he is going to play one more year before leaving the game. On his 40th birthday, Ortiz said in a video posted on The Players’ Tribune that the 2016 season will be his last, before stating that if it were up to him, he would be playing the game he loves for another 40 years.
“Life is based on different chapters, and I think I am ready to experience the next one in my life,” he told his fans. “I wish I could play another 40 years, so I could have you guys behind me, but it doesn’t work that way. After this year, time is up. So let’s enjoy the season.”
The Dominican-born hitter led the Boston-based franchise to three World Series championships, hitting 503 homers in a career of clutch at-bats while standing tall as an icon who turned the once-cursed franchised into a great team.
Remembered for his big hits and a larger-than-life personality, Ortiz further endeared himself to his fans following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds. Speaking to a Fenway crowd that included the governor and top police officials, Ortiz was visibly distraught at the events and said, “This is our [expletive] city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom.”
In the same year, Ortiz batted .688 in the six-game victory over the Cardinals and was deservedly named the Series MVP. He is currently one of only four players in history to have registered at least 500 career homers and three World Series championships, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson.
Team owner John Henry, and also the principle owner of English football giants Liverpool FC, stated that words may never be enough to convey what David Ortiz means to the Boston Red Sox.
“It is difficult to adequately convey what David Ortiz has meant to the Boston Red Sox,” Henry said in a statement. “For those of us who have had the honor of knowing him all these years, he has been exactly what you hope to see in a man who has been the face of this organization.”
Indeed, it is not surprising to see this announcement. The living legend has shown signs of slowing down and last season was featured in 146 games, during which he scored 37 home runs. His contract is going to expire soon, and Ortiz wants to bow out in grace rather than being put in a position where retirement is the only option.
He might even be taking a keen look at the careers of the likes of Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant—two players who have had equally great careers and are more or less struggling to turn back the years.
Ortiz was a truly unique player. While other teammates were signed on lucrative and longer contracts, he was never given the same treatment, only because the Sox management never expected him to justify a steep salary. However, he is the only remaining player from Boston’s historic World Series championships. People expected his decline to start years back, but that never happened.
Now, the Dominican king is ready to bow out in style and on his own terms.