The Dominican exppotero David Ortiz returned to Boston to participate in the placement of his name in a street near Fenway Park, where he then came to be cheered again by fans of the Red Sox.
Local authorities went along with Ortiz to the ceremony where he was renamed Yawkey Way Extension, which is now named David Ortiz Drive.
The act, as well as its presence at Fenway Park, were the first in a series that preceded the withdrawal of its 34th number that will take place on Friday night during the match that the Red Sox are going to play against The Angels of Los Angeles.
“This city means a lot to me,” Ortiz said during the ceremony in which his name became part of Boston’s official street. “This city has allowed me to reach what I am now.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, present at the act of renaming the street in honor of Ortiz, said that “Big Papi” is a “legend on and off the field.”
Walsh recalled how Ortiz raised the mood in the city after the terrorist attack on the deadly Boston marathon of 2013, when he took a microphone on the Fenway mound and proclaimed, “This is our (expletive) city.”
“In one of the darkest parts of the city, it was someone who helped us get up straight away,” Walsh said. “His figure and human quality has always served as inspiration for all segments of the community and especially for young people.”
Ortiz also participated tonight at a fund-raising event held at Boston’s Houston of Blues in the presence of Bill Burr, former teammate Dustin Pedroia, Sarah Tianna and Lenny Clarke.
All proceeds will go to the David Ortiz Children’s Foundation.
Ortiz, 51, as a professional played 20 seasons in the majors, 14 with the Red Sox, and got 541 home runs, most with the Boston team that eventually won three World Series and breaking the curse of the “Curse of the Bambino, “which was given after the legendary Babe Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees.
Ortiz, who won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2013 World Series, said that what he had achieved on the pitch had been important, but that getting involved and helping the Boston community was ever greater.
That reality has made it possible for Ortiz also to have beaten all the marks of speed at the time to remove the number 34 that always clothed him with the flannel of the Red Sox.
Team legend Ted Williams had to wait 24 years after his last at-bat before the Red Sox hung their number on the facade of Fenway Park.
Bobby Doerr and Joe Cronin waited 37 years, while Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice waited 20.
However, Ortiz’s No. 34 will join that group Friday night, just 265 days after the Dominican idol fired the Fenway diamond for the last time as a player and on Thursday also stepped back.
“That short lapse of time is a symbol of what everyone thinks has been the most important player in the history of the Red Sox,” said team president Sam Kennedy. “His figure has been exceptional on and off the field.”
The Red Sox will withdraw the number of “Big Papi” during the game against the Angels and will be the eleventh number that will be on the front of the field, and the third in three seasons.
As a designated hitter, he helped the Red Sox win three World Series, including the first franchise championship in 86 years in 2004.
The farewell of Ortiz derived in a waste of appreciation and recognitions throughout the season, receiving gifts in the stadiums that he visited and soon with a tribute that extended a weekend in Fenway.