David Ortiz feted at Fenway in final regular season game
The Red Sox honored the career of David Ortiz on Sunday with an elaborate and emotional ceremony that included the announcement that his No. 34 will be retired next season.
Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice were on the field with principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner when Ortiz received that news.
Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh and House Speaker Robert DeLeo arrived on the field bearing road signs. The bridge over the Massachusetts Turnpike on Brookline Ave. was renamed the “David Ortiz Bridge.” The new road connecting Fenway Park to the commuter rail station will be called “David Ortiz Drive.”
The Red Sox Foundation donated $500,000 to the David Ortiz’s Children’s Fund. The team owners matched that with an additional $500,000.
Led by Pedro Martinez, members of the 2004 World Series team came on the field. The group included Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Mike Timlin, Doug Mientkiewicz, Keith Foulke, Alan Embree, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra, Curtis Leskanic, and Mark Bellhorn. Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Alex Cora, Hideki Okajima, J.C. Romero, and Kyle Snyder represented the 2007 team. Jonny Gomes, Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales returned from the 2013 champions and were joined on the field by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Koji Uehara, and others still in uniform with the Sox.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Ortiz’s physical therapist, Dr. Dan Dyrek, gave Ortiz a bat made out of gold. Ortiz has credited Dyrek with keeping him on the field.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and Sox president Sam Kennedy announced that Major League Baseball and the Red Sox will sponsor the David Ortiz Fellowship Program to promote diversity in front office positions. A recent college graduate will be selected to work in a year-long position with the Sox and will travel to New York to work on projects in the commissioner’s office.
The Dominican national anthem was performed, as the country’s flag was unfurled along the wall in left field. DR president Danilo Medina threw out the first pitch to Ortiz.
Mary J. Blige, one of Ortiz’s favorite artists, sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Ortiz’s wife, children, father, and two sisters attended the ceremony.
When he spoke to the crowd, Ortiz broke up crying when he mentioned his late mother, Angela, who died in a car accident in 2002.
“Thank you, Mom, I love you so much and I miss you,” he said.
Ortiz also thanked his family, the Red Sox, his teammates, and even the media before taking one knee and tipping his cap to the crowd.
Red Sox retired numbers
1 – Bobby Doerr
4 – Joe Cronin
6 – Johnny Pesky
8 – Carl Yastrzemski
9 – Ted Williams
14 – Jim Rice
26 – Wade Boggs
27 – Carlton Fisk
45 – Pedro Martinez