Red Sox slugger David Ortiz thanks Mariners for ‘good memories’

Jun 19, 2016, 2:24 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2016, 8:35 am

David Ortiz owes much of his Hall of Fame-caliber career to his tenure with the Red Sox, but he sent out a shout out Sunday to the Mariners for putting him on the path to stardom.

The 40-year-old Ortiz announced before the season that he would retire at the end of the 2016 campaign. Prior to the rubber game against Seattle, he spoke with Rick Rizzs about his decision to call it a career, thanking Rizzs for always “being so nice.”

“All these years, every time I come to Seattle you guys always been so nice,” Ortiz said. “You always brought a lot of good memories to me when I was part of the organization. That’s something that, seriously, it’s a good accomplishment and it’s an honor for me to be a part of what you guys are.”

Big Papi signed with the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 1992 after graduating from high school in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz, who was then going by his mother’s surname, Arias, dominated in the Mariners’ farm system, batting .332 and leading all rookie Mariners with 61 hits as a 19-year-old. Baseball America even dubbed him the most exciting player in the Midwest League. Ortiz was traded to the Twins in 1996 for third baseman Dave Hollins.

Related: Mariners GM hopeful Felix Hernandez could return before All-Star break

Ortiz’s path to the Majors was blocked in Seattle by DH Edgar Martinez, who continued playing for the Mariners through 2004. The left-handed slugging Ortiz ultimately landed in Boston where he won three World Series titles and compiled most of his nearly 2,400 hits and 521 home runs.

Ortiz is off to a torrid start in his final season, with a .342/.423/.710 slash-line, along with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs. He told Rizzs there are fewer worries and distractions since he knows this is his final hurrah.

“Everything is coming out good,” he said. “Hopefully it will continue and we will work into the playoffs and we end up winning the World Series. That would be a really happy ending.”

A previous version of this story listed the incorrect number of Ortiz’s World Series victories. We apologize for the error.

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