Boston Red Sox: Top 10 memorable moments of 2016
Big Papi’s Fenway farewell
Every city that the Red Sox visited this year greeted David Ortiz with a respectful tribute to his storied career.
Ortiz was swarmed with more attention than ever before in his final season, as everyone wanted to get one last moment with the iconic slugger. In his final appearance at each visiting ballpark, Ortiz was honored in a pre-game ceremony and showered with parting gifts.
A custom made Stetson cowboy hat in Houston, a surfboard in San Diego, a book filled with thoughtful inscriptions from former Yankees. Everyone had something to give to Big Papi to thank him for his contributions to the game.
As touching as it was to see opposing teams show their respect to Ortiz, nothing could compare to the tearful goodbye waiting for him at Fenway Park. The Red Sox held a three-day tribute during the final home stand of the regular season, recognizing his charitable contributions as much as his Hall of Fame worthy production on the field.
Several of his former teammates joined the ceremony to celebrate Ortiz’s career, as well as representatives from the Patriots, Celtics and Bruins. Ortiz wasn’t merely a Red Sox hero, he was a Boston icon and the entire city banded together to honor him.
The Red Sox also wasted no time in announcing that Ortiz’s No. 34 will be retired at Fenway next season.
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Ortiz’s final Fenway appearance as an active member of the Red Sox came in a Game 3 loss to the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. While the sting of postseason defeat would have sent most fans wallowing toward the exits, the Fenway faithful stuck around to salute Big Papi one last time. The image of Ortiz tipping his hat to the crowd is one that Red Sox fans won’t soon forget.