That said, it’s hard for anyone to have a better day than David Ortiz did Sunday.
The Red Sox’s legendary designated hitter was honored in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park that lasted over an hour and focused on his many accomplishments, both on and off the field. During that time, Ortiz was surprised by a host of his favorite former teammates, learned his No. 34 would be retired at Fenway Park next season and found out he’s getting a bridge renamed in his honor.
But when asked what part of Sunday’s ceremony stood out the most, Big Papi picked something else: The Red Sox’s $1 million pledge to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.
“The money for the foundation — man,” an emotional Ortiz said after the game. “The Red Sox and everybody know how hard we work to raise money to keep on saving lives and give back to the community. And what they did (Sunday), to me, it’s bigger than hitting 500 home runs. It’s bigger than getting the game-winning RBI. It’s bigger than anything that you can compare it to. Because you’re talking about saving lives, you know?”
Proceeds for Ortiz’s fund go directly to providing pediatric care to children in New England and his native Dominican Republic. On Friday, the Red Sox revealed his foundation already has saved over 500 young lives.
“When you get a $1 million donation, it goes beyond everything,” Ortiz added. “Because you know it’s going to be a lot of kids that are going to have their lives back. I don’t even know how to thank them.”
Big Papi talked at length about several important topics in his postgame press conference. Here are a few of his notable answers:
On getting choked up talking about his mother during his pregame speech: “When you are going through celebrations, when you are going through good moments, good times — I had my family on the field, my dad, my wife, my kids, my sisters — I felt like something was missing. When it came time to talk about my mom — I was very close to my mom, you know? I lost my mom 14 years ago, it’s going to be 15 after New Year’s Day, and it seems like it was yesterday. Emotion comes through. You start thinking about a member of the family that is no longer around. Every time I talk about my mom, it happens.”
On Red Sox principal owner John Henry calling him the greatest Red Sox player ever: “This is what I will say: Times are different. Every time I read about Mr. Ted Williams — how he played the game, how he went to war for all of us, came back three years later, raked when he came back — I’m always going to respect that. I’m always going to look at that as a superhero type of thing. Because, let me tell you: Going to war and fighting for all of us — every single person in this room — and coming back and begin to be an entertainer again? There’s not many humans capable of doing that.”
On dropping to one knee to thank the fans: “I almost dropped to both knees, but it was going to be hard to get up then.”
On getting a bridge named after him: “I might go there for a day. Just drive back and forth to see how it feels.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images