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Keller @ Large: David Ortiz – Most Memorable Boston Athlete Ever

BOSTON (CBS) – Over the years, Boston sports fans have been blessed with many great athletes to root for. Consider the likes of great Bruins from Bobby Orr to Ray Bourque, immortal Celtics from Bill Russell to Larry Bird, classic Patriots from Ron Burton to Tom Brady, and unforgettable Red Sox from Ted Williams to Tony Conigliaro and, of course, many, many more I don’t have time to mention here.

So why is David Ortiz perhaps the most memorable Boston athlete ever?

Let me count the ways.

Of course, there’s the performance on the field – the incredible clutch hits, the better-than-average fielding when he got the chance, the passionate leadership, his sheer joy for the game.

David Ortiz hits a walk-off home run to win Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

David Ortiz hits a walk-off home run to win Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

But there are other reasons why Big Papi is being celebrated so intensely as he plays his final regular-season games at Fenway this weekend. More than any sports figure I can think of, Ortiz embraced our city and made it his own.

David Ortiz speaks during a pre-game ceremony in honor of the bombings of Marathon Monday before a game at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

David Ortiz speaks during a pre-game ceremony in honor of the bombings of Marathon Monday before a game at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I was lucky enough to be at the first home game after the marathon murders, and can testify to the emotional impact his heartfelt speech that day had, expletives and all.

Few, if any, big sports stars have given back to the community more enthusiastically than Big Papi, especially when kids are involved.

Maverick Schutte high-fives David Ortiz, May 11, 2016. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Maverick Schutte high-fives David Ortiz, May 11, 2016. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

And there were many moments, like the home run he promised to hit for an ailing Wyoming boy, a promise that was promptly kept.

David Ortiz gave us much more than just our first taste of winning in nearly a century. He gave us all he had, heart and soul, on and off the field.

David Ortiz hits a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers in the 2013 ALCS. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

David Ortiz hits a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers in the 2013 ALCS. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

And his celebration is a reminder that when you give Bostonians your all, we will love you back like no one else.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. bees_knees_6 says:

    No, he is not. He is a memorable athlete. However, not the most. The others mentioned and many more like them also embraced our city. Because they are not at the forefront of our memories, does not mean we should reduce them to seconds or thirds. Shame on you, Jon. Do you know, for instance, that long after he stopped playing Williams was very active in helping the Red Sox players? Do you know that in 1969 when the Sox were struggling that he called Yaz and loudly told him to stop walking in from left but to run and to be the leader for the team because it was his job? Do you remember the camp in Lakeville Ted had for kids? Do you know the hundreds (generous as undoubtedly there were more) of kids and families Ted helped because they were struggling? I know you do not because he didn’t want anyone to know.

    I absolutely guarantee Ted was not alone. I am simply familiar with what he did for Boston, for this town, for the kids – including their fight against cancer, and for the Red Sox well past his retirement.

    So please do not lift Ortiz up to a level above anyone’s level because he is forefront in your mind. Also remember there is a question of whether he used PEDs.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Adding since we cannot edit on this grand new system.

      “And his celebration is a reminder that when you give Bostonians your all, we will love you back like no one else.”

      I cry foul. Let me fix that for you….

      “And his celebration is a reminder that when you give Bostonians a win, we will love you back like no one else.” We do not love our athletes when they struggle and we never have. Giving all of your love means when they are up and when they are down…..it is not conditional. That is exactly what Ted disliked about the Boston fans and it is an absolute fact.

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