Big Night for Big Papi: Red Sox honor Hall of Famer Ortiz

Jul 26, 2022, 5:15 AM | Updated: 6:43 pm
Newly inducted Hall of Fame designated hitter David Ortiz throws out the ceremonial first pitch whi...

Newly inducted Hall of Fame designated hitter David Ortiz throws out the ceremonial first pitch while being honored prior to a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park, Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — With three giant World Series banners laid across the outfield grass, three championship trophies on a table and his Hall of Fame plaque hanging behind him, David Ortiz basked in the welcome of the Fenway fans on Tuesday, two days after he was inducted in Cooperstown.

Thanking those who helped him throughout his career — many of them seated in folding chairs along the first- and third-base lines — Ortiz took the field to chants of “Papi!” and told the crowd before the slumping Red Sox played the Cleveland Guardians: “The good luck charm just arrived.”

Ortiz took his spot near the pitcher’s mound where, nine years ago, he rallied the residents after the Boston Marathon bombing by proclaiming, “This is our (expletive) city!” Red Sox Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice joined him for this celebration, as did Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero — fellow Cooperstown inductees from the Dominican Republic.

“It’s amazing everything that happened this past week,” Ortiz said from a podium festooned with his No. 34. “Thank you very much, Boston. Here’s your son. I love you forever.”

Ex-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein took a seat on the first-base side, with former managers Terry Francona, who managed the 2004 and ’07 World Series championship teams, and John Farrell, who was in the dugout for the ’13 championship.

Teammates Tim Wakefield, Xander Bogaerts, Trot Nixon, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Alex Cora came out for the honorary first pitch, and Jason Varitek was behind the plate to catch it. After the ceremony, Francona headed over to the visitor’s dugout to manage the Guardians, and Cora went back to the home dugout to take his place with the Red Sox.

“Just to be watching him, you know, be so proud of him, of what he’s accomplished,” Francona said before the game. “That’s a pretty cool thing.”

Ortiz stopped to take a selfie of himself with his Hall of Fame plaque, which called him a “Powerhouse left-handed slugger who was at his best in the clutch, with legendary postseason performances that took the Red Sox from championship drought to three World Series titles in 10-year stretch.” He also got a ride in the dugout laundry cart from the current players.

The scoreboard then went into a highlight reel that recapped Ortiz’s rise from an offseason afterthought to the most important player in Red Sox history, helping the sad-sack franchise end an 86-year title drought and win two more championships. In the 2013 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, he batted .688 and was the World Series MVP.

A 10-time All-Star who was the 58th first-ballot Hall of Famer, Ortiz batted .286 with 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs in a 20-year career with the Red Sox and Twins. He also had a .289 average with 17 homers and 61 RBIs in nine postseasons.

The Red Sox wore their special edition blue and yellow jerseys on Tuesday that they also have worn on marathon day the past two seasons. Survivors of the attacks helped unfurl the ’13 World Series pennant; Jimmy Fund kids and patients from the David Ortiz Children’s Foundation held the ’07 banner and longtime season-ticket holders handled the ’04 one.

Cora, a player on the 2007 team, said Ortiz gave the clubhouse a jolt of energy — as usual — when he visited.

“This is the first time he’s going to walk into Fenway as a Hall of Famer,” Cora said before the game. “I’m very proud of him. I think we all are.”

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Wrestler Antonio Inoki, left, and world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali shake hands...
Associated Press

Popular wrestler and politician Antonio Inoki dies at 79

TOKYO (AP) — A popular Japanese professional wrestler and lawmaker Antonio Inoki, who faced a world boxing champion Muhammad Ali in a mixed martial arts match in 1976, has died at 79. Inoki brought Japanese pro-wrestling to fame and pioneered mixed martial arts matches between top wrestlers and champions from other combat sports like judo, […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Harris has 414 yards passing, UTSA beats Middle Tennessee

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Frank Harris threw for a program-record 414 yards and accounted for four touchdowns to lead UTSA to a 45-30 victory over Middle Tennessee on Friday night in a Conference USA opener. Harris was 27-of-36 passing with a pair of touchdown passes to Zakhari Franklin and ran for two short-yardage scores to […]
22 hours ago
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani flies out, next Texas Rangers catcher Sam Huff during the third i...
Associated Press

Detmers pitches Angels past Rangers 4-1 for 5th straight win

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Reid Detmers pitched six innings of four-hit ball in the final start of his eventful rookie season, and Jo Adell and Luis Rengifo hit early solo homers in the Los Angeles Angels’ fifth consecutive victory, 4-1 over the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to 15 […]
22 hours ago
Boise State quarterback Taylen Green (10) is chased out of the pocket by San Diego State defensive ...
Associated Press

Boise State, with new starting QB Green, beats SDSU 35-13

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Quarterback Taylen Green and George Holani each had more than 100 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, and Boise State shut out San Diego State in the second half and rolled to a 35-13 victory on Friday night. It was Boise State’s first game without former starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier, […]
22 hours ago
St. Louis Cardinals' Nolan Arenado, left, and Paul Goldschmidt celebrate as 2-1 victory over the Pi...
Associated Press

Pujols hits 701st homer, Flaherty pitches Cards past Pirates

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, Jack Flaherty allowed one run in six innings and the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Friday night. Pujols mashed a slider from Johan Oveido 398 feet to left field in the fourth inning, his 22nd homer of […]
22 hours ago
The Tampa Bay Rays pose for a team picture after a baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday,...
Associated Press

Rays clinch AL wild-card spot; Astros get AL home-field edge

HOUSTON (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros both had reasons to like how things turned out Friday night. Drew Rasmussen and the Rays were the only ones celebrating, however. Rasmussen pitched seven effective innings and the Rays clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight season, posing on the field for a […]
22 hours ago
Big Night for Big Papi: Red Sox honor Hall of Famer Ortiz