It was an emotional night at Boston’s Fenway Park on Monday, as the Red Sox were defeated by the Cleveland Indians 4-3, eliminating them from the 2016 playoffs.
But it wasn’t just the end of the Red Sox’s season. It was also the end of an era, as designated hitter and occasional first baseman David Ortiz played his final game as a professional baseball player.
The 40-year-old Dominican native, who announced his retirement plans last November, was celebrated by the thousands of fans who affectionately refer to him as “Big Papi.”
Ortiz was flanked by photographers and reporters before leaving the stadium for the final time as a player, but his eyes went to the cheering crowd in the stadium — as he raised his Red Sox hat in the air.
The tearful crowd began chanting “Papi” and “Thank You Papi” as Randy Newman’s theme to the 1984 classic baseball film The Natural played.
On his way to the dugout, he also stopped and waved goodbye one last time.
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Ortiz has over 500 home runs, three World Series wins, a World Series MVP, and has made 10 trips to the All-Star game.
The Red Sox have said they plan to retire his number — 34 — next season. A bridge in Boston will be named after him — the Big Papi Bridge – and Fenway will name the path from the T stop to the Park “David Ortiz Drive.”