BOSTON (CBS) — Bobby Orr is a Boston sports legend, with the highlights, the hardware and even a statue to prove it.
Orr revolutionized the defenseman position in the NHL, bringing it to offensive heights never before seen on the ice. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champ, a three-time MVP and beloved by every Boston sports fan.
But there is one local legend he wouldn’t mind trading places with, as we found out over the weekend when Orr was honored at Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee. In a Q&A session hosted by WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton, Orr was asked if he could live the career of any other Boston superstar, past or present, who would it be?
It’s a tough question, but one Orr handled with the ease of a speedy breakaway. He agrees that Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football, but Orr has never played the game. The same goes for basketball, so as great as Bill Russell and Larry Bird were in Celtics green, those two legends were also eliminated from the equation.
“I never played football. I’m only eliminating Tom [Brady] because I never played football, but I have great respect for Tom and I agree with most of you that he’ll go down as the greatest ever,” Orr told the crowd. “I never played basketball. Shouldn’t I go to a sport that I played, or have a chance?
“That’s a difficult question. I have great respect for all of them,” he said. “I think I want to play baseball, and I think I want to hit a lot of home runs.”
So that narrows things down a bit. In addition to hitting the ice as a kid, Orr enjoyed playing baseball, so that would give him a fighter’s chance on the diamond. He knew Ted Williams, and was in awe of what the Splendid Splinter could do with a bat, but there is one player who has the total package in Orr’s eyes, both on and off the field.
If Orr could trade careers with any other Boston athlete, he’d go with Boston slugger David Ortiz. And it’s not just because of that giant swing that Ortiz, even at the age of 40, has been showing off the last 14 years in a Red Sox uniform.
Orr loves Papi’s gigantic personality, which he uses to improve the lives of anyone he meets. It’s on full display at Ortiz’s annual golf tournament in the Dominican Republic, which Orr has attended several times over the years.
“He’s there every minute of the tournament. He doesn’t play golf — he’s awful,” Orr joked. “But he’s there all day and all night. He’s wonderful.”
Orr recalled a time when a young boy who lost his father wanted to take some batting practice at Fenway Park. Orr was able to arrange that special day, and soon found it was made even better for the young boy. He received a picture on his phone of the child sitting in the Boston dugout, sharing a big smile with Ortiz.
“David Ortiz is the best. I’ve come to know David. He’s a kind, generous, nice man,” said Orr. “This guy is a special guy, he really is.”