Red Sox will officially retire David Ortiz’s number 34 in June
The Boston Red Sox have announced that they will retire the No. 34 in honor of David Ortiz in a pre-game ceremony on June 23.
If David Ortiz were to have a change of heart about his retirement and decide to return to the Boston Red Sox, he has about five months to consider a comeback.
The team announced on Thursday that they will officially retire Ortiz’s No. 34, immortalizing the iconic slugger on the right field facade alongside the greatest players in franchise history.
We learned last September prior to Big Papi’s last regular season game that the Red Sox intended to honor him by retiring him number the following season, but now we know when to expect it. A ceremony will be held on Friday, June 23 at Fenway Park prior to when the hometown team takes on the Los Angeles Angels.
RedSox.com currently has single game tickets on sale for select games, but the June 23 game isn’t available yet. A Friday night with reigning MVP Mike Trout in town was already expected to be a hot ticket, but the demand will skyrocket from fans wanting to attend the festivities.
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Ortiz will join nine other Red Sox legends that have had their number retired on the right field facade at Fenway Park: Bobby Doerr (1), Joe Cronin (4), Johnny Pesky (6), Carl Yastrzemski (8), Ted Williams (9), Jim Rice (14), Wade Boggs (26), Carlton Fisk (27), Pedro Martinez (45). Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired by Major League Baseball.
Once Ortiz’s number is hanging up at Fenway, does that close the door on any potential comeback? His buddy Pedro still believes we haven’t seen the last of Big Papi, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Perhaps seeing his old team play without him will give him the itch to play again, but if he doesn’t decide until after the ceremony then would it be too late? Would he have to change numbers, like Michael Jordan wearing No. 45 when he returned to the Chicago Bulls?
Hmmm… that presents a potential marketing opportunity to sell more Ortiz jerseys bearing a new number. Don’t put it past the Red Sox to exploit it! Maybe instead of a number on the back of his new jersey they would have dollar signs.
Most of us have given up on the sliver of hope that Ortiz could return in 2017. The Red Sox moving forward with plans to retire his number so quickly is merely the latest sign that Ortiz’s retirement is essentially set in stone. Hey, Wade Boggs waited two decades to get his number up there, so why would the Red Sox rush to honor Ortiz if they thought there was even the slightest chance he could change his mind?
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I’m certainly not counting on seeing Ortiz in the Red Sox lineup again, but any chance to see the beloved icon at Fenway is a treat for fans, regardless of if he has a bat in his hands.