David Ortiz is likely to be elected to Cooperstown Tuesday evening.
The retired Red Sox designated hitter already has his number 34 retired at Fenway and Boston.com readers overwhelmingly think he should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
We also asked readers to share their favorite memories of Big Papi and they delivered. Ahead we share the biggest moments readers deemed as their favorite in his career with the Red Sox.
‘This is our city’ speech
For many readers’ favorite memory, Ortiz was not holding his legendary bat at the plate about to hit one of his 483 home runs in a Red Sox uniform. Instead he was was holding a microphone at Fenway Park in front of a crowd just day’s after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
“This is our f——- city,” said Ortiz in his emotional speech. For most respondents, this is how they best remember Ortiz.
“Big Papi yelling “This is our f***ing city!” will always be one of my first thoughts when I think about him.”—Emily D., Boston
“Hands down. Spoken like a true Bostonian.”—Jay, Roslindale
“He said what we all were unapologetically saying and thinking.”—Nancy, Quincy
“David Ortiz did a lot for this city. I loved his attitude and how positive he always was. He was such a joy to watch and also gave us so much hope — especially in our three championships with him. I felt like his energy added so much to the team and really fired up the fanbase. My personal favorite was his iconic rallying cry after the Marathon bombing. You knew he loved the city and really cared about what was happening around him — something that is not always true for professional athletes. He was a part of this city’s fabric and always will be. I am excited to see him inducted in 2022.”—Abby O., Cape and Islands
Big Papi ‘reversing the curse’ and other career highlights
Many readers remember some of Ortiz’s career highlights, moments that became iconic in Boston sports lore. His postseason heroics were identified by other readers as their favorite among his time in Boston.
Ortiz would become known as one of Baseball’s all time clutch hitters during his time in Boston after he helped lead the Red Sox in their 2004 ALCS comeback against the rival New York Yankees.
Ortiz hit walk-offs two nights in a row at Fenway to help the Sox claw back from down 0-3 to win the series. Boston would go on to break the Curse of the Bambino a few weeks later by winning the 2004 World Series, the first of three rings for Ortiz.
“Game 4, Oct 17, 2004, 12th inning, Sox were so close to being swept by the Yankees in the ACLS. Big Papi goes deep off of the Yankees 5th pitcher of the game for a walk-off 2 run homer. Red Sox beat the Yanks and stay alive for Game 5 thanks to Big Papi.”—Anne Marie K., North Carolina (formerly of Westwood)
“2004 ALCS against the Yankees. In game four Papi hits an extra inning walk off HR, then less than 24 hours later in Game 5 Ortiz hits an extra inning walk off single. It was the beginning of the unbelievable 0-3 comeback to win 4 straight.”—Jon T.
“Game 5, 2004 ALCS just before 1AM. Bloop single over the second baseman’s head for the walk-off win versus the Yankees. Of all the booming homers this guy hit in his career, this one single will always stand out for me. Found my way back to the North End from Fenway around 3AM and grabbed a couple of cold slices at Bova’s. Epic night.”—Eddie C., Brookline
“To me, the most important moment came in Game 7 against the Yanks in 2004 after Jeter gunned down Damon at home. New York suddenly had life, the crowd was going nuts, and the Yankee Stadium ghosts were stirring.
Then Papi sent one screaming over the fence with Manny (Ramirez) aboard. The air went out of the stadium just like that. Yes, Damon came up big in the game. But if Papi doesn’t crank one there, that game might have turned out very differently. Nobody had a bigger part in reversing the curse than Papi, and he never had a bigger moment than that one.”—Steve S., Seattle (formerly of Brookline)
Ortiz also contributed to the 2007 World Series winning Red Sox team to pick up his second World Series ring.
Another clutch postseason performance came in game 2 of the 2013 ALCS when Ortiz hit one of the signature home-runs of his career.
The game tying grand slam by Ortiz caused Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter to flip head-first into the Red Sox bullpen, as Boston Police officer Steve Horgan cheered in the background, creating one of the most famous images in Boston sports history.
“Grand Slam versus Tigers. I have never seen Fenway rock like that.”—Chip, Denver
“The slam off Benoit in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS and the walk-off in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS are two of the most exciting moments I’ve witnessed in nearly 70 years as a Sox fan.”—Steve S., Seattle (formerly of Brookline)
As we know, Ortiz and the Red Sox went on to win the 2013 World Series.
Readers’ personal interactions and other memories of Big Papi off the field
Other respondents remembered David Ortiz for the man he was off the field in their personal interactions with him.
“When we were at Spring Training in Ft. Meyers, Big Papi was signing autographs and my friend wanted to get the ball she had signed for her friend who was having an operation. She yelled over to him and explained why she wanted the ball signed. He came right over and signed the ball. We were so excited and the sick patient was delighted with the gift. Over the years, David has always demonstrated what is the very best in professional ballplayers; compassion, empathy, kindness, humility, and being a strong role model for our children. He has always been my favorite player and was simply one of the most talented players on the Red Sox team.”—Eileen W., Cambridge
“Acquired Papi’s autograph at The Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH after the 2007 World Series! Used to have RSOX34 as my license plate.”—Mark C., Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Even after his retirement in 2016, Red Sox Nation is still making new memories with Big Papi.
“During a game at Fenway, I headed to the concession stands and on the way I saw Big Papi, enjoying retirement, surrounded by fans. They all were chatting and smiling. Instead of joining them, I watched with joy from a distance and returned to my seat with snacks and a great story to share with my husband.”—Gwenn E., Brookline
The Hall of Fame announcement is expected to be made Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Editor’s Note: This article was published prior to the announcement that David Ortiz was officially voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.