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David Ortiz meets sick child in person at Fenway

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz met Maverick Schutte, a sick little boy he promised a home run for in April, on Wednesday, May 11 at Fenway Park.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz met Maverick Schutte, a sick little boy he promised a home run for in April, on Wednesday, May 11 at Fenway Park.

David Ortiz promised a sick little boy he would hit a home run for him last month, then improbably delivered, connecting against the Yankees.

On Wednesday, 6-year-old Maverick Schutte was at Fenway Park to thank Big Papi in person.

Maverick accompanied Ortiz for batting practice, then appeared with him on MLB Network. He even took a few swings at balls pitched to him by Ortiz before throwing out the first pitch prior to the Sox playing the Oakland Athletics. Ortiz was the catcher.

“It’s the greatest day of his life. He’s loving it,” said the boy’s mother, Marti Linnane. “We’re so thrilled to be here.”

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Maverick, who is from Cheyenne, Wyo., has had 30 surgical procedures because of a congenital heart defect. Via former Red Sox player Kevin Millar and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Maverick reached out to Ortiz before the April 29 game against the Yankees.

In a video message, Ortiz wished the boy well and told him he would homer that night. In the eighth inning, Ortiz did just that.

That led to Millar and the Miracle Network arranging for Maverick and his parents to visit Fenway. They arrived on Tuesday and leave on Thursday. It is his first time in Boston.

“He’s been smiling the whole time he has been here. You’re talking about 6 years old and been through hell . . . He’s a hero,” Ortiz said. “You talk about superheroes? He’s a hero to be able to get through all the tough times. I just can’t imagine as a father watching your kid go through that.”

Wearing an Ortiz T-shirt, Maverick watched batting practice and met several other Red Sox players.

“It made me feel great, man,” Ortiz said. “The reality is I never forget where I come from. Every day you bump into people complaining about life. When you see things like this, you have to thank God every day for being able to wake up and be healthy.”

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Maverick and his family will head home with a pile of autographed memorabilia from his new friend.

“You put a smile on their faces. It’s priceless,” Ortiz said.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.