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Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles April 28,  2011 | ©Keith Allison
Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles April 28, 2011 | ©Keith Allison
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Boston Red Sox Dedicate 2016 Season To David Ortiz

Picture of Casey Campbell
Updated: 14 December 2016
Red Sox fan or not, if you’re a local in Boston, you know who David Ortiz is. The 6-foot-3 and 230-pound designated hitter – often known by his nickname Big Papi – is a local hero in Boston. Since joining the team in 2003, many say that he’s led the team to its three most recent World Series trophies, including the historic 2004 win that broke the 86-year Curse of the Bambino. At 40 years old, Ortiz will be retiring this year, and the whole Red Sox season has practically been dedicated to him.

Ortiz’s baseball career started in 1997 with the Minnesota Twins. Originally from the Dominican Republic, his autobiography describes scenes of his childhood, where he and his friends would use any equipment they could find to play baseball – substituting broomsticks for bats and bottle caps for balls. After being released from the Twins in 2002, Ortiz came to the Red Sox, where he’s remained ever since. He’s always shattered records throughout his career, and this season is no different, as he recently hit his 534th home run.

Besides celebrating Ortiz’s success all season, it seems that the Red Sox nation can’t get enough of handing him retirement gifts. Throughout the season, the team has hosted multiple promotional nights, giving away bobble-heads, canvas prints, and even a gnome of the slugger. As Ortiz plays his last games at fields around the league, other teams have also been awarding him an interesting assortment of gifts. Some of the most peculiar include 34 pounds of salmon from the Seattle Mariners, custom cowboy boots from the Texas Rangers, and a box of cigars from the White Sox. Yet the most massive display of affection possibly comes in the form of a recently carved corn maze in Sterling, MA, featuring Ortiz pointing to the sky after a home run.

While these gifts have been amusing, donations to Ortiz’s charity, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, have also skyrocketed. Local businesses are donating profits from certain items to the charity, and various teams in the league have donated.

Big Papi’s last game of the regular season at Fenway Park is set to be October 2, in a series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox have had a solid season, and Ortiz is certainly looking to actually finish in late October. Right now, they sit 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East, and his last game may very well stretch into playoffs.