BOSTON (CBS) – David Ortiz’s performance on the field has brought cheers to Fenway Park for 14 seasons. But it’s the retiring slugger’s contributions off the diamond that have meant most to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Walsh and Baker heaped praise on Ortiz as he enters the final regular season series of his storied career this weekend.
“I think David Ortiz, in some respects, is a gift,” Baker told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens.
Walsh reflected on what Ortiz meant in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
In the first game at Fenway Park following the tragedy, Ortiz famously and boldly told the crowbd that “This is our (expletive) city.”
“He meant everything,” Walsh said. “Even before the Marathon tragedy that happened, he was such a big sports figure here. The weekend after the Marathon when he took the field, he took the city back. He says it himself – he’s a Bostonian. He is this city.”
Baker cited Ortiz’s work in the community as a reason that he is such an iconic New England figure.
On Thursday, the governor announced that the Brookline Ave. bridge near Fenway Park would be named after Ortiz.
“He’s really going to be missed,” Baker said.
“I would argue he’s probably the most important player in Red Sox history. More than that he just brought a joy for the game, a joy for the city, a joy for the community, and a resiliency about all that that I’ve never seen before and I doubt we’ll ever see again.”
Walsh said that with the Red Sox opening postseason play Thursday, it has started to sink in that the number of times Ortiz will take the field is numbered.
“You’ve got to take every single minute in to watch him play because we probably won’t see another guy like him in our lifetime,” Walsh said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports