BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Hockey great Bobby Orr, NFL Hall of Famer Andre Tippett and the entire current Boston Celtics roster joined David Ortiz on the field at Fenway Park on Saturday night to help celebrate Big Papi on his way into retirement.
The ceremony before the Red Sox played Toronto also featured former patients at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who Ortiz helped through his work for the Jimmy Fund. And Boston Marathon bombing victims also joined the sports stars on the field to thank Ortiz for his defiant and inspirational speech following the 2013 finish line attacks.
The basketball players all wore Celtics jerseys with Ortiz’s No. 34. Many of them asked the Red Sox designated hitter to sign their shirts, and several posed for selfies with him.
Ortiz has said he will retire at the end of the season, and the Red Sox planned celebrations for the final weekend series at Fenway.
A group of Boston Marathon bombing survivors also took part in the celebration, including Jeff Bauman.
“To see him hug me, give him a hug. I’m so happy that everyone’s here,” Bauman said. Bauman also reflected on Ortiz’s famous speech at Fenway after the bombings.
“I saw his speech from my hospital bed at Boston Medical Center, that pumped me up, that pumped me up really good,” said Bauman. “He’s the man.”
According to the Boston Police Department, Ortiz was one of department’s biggest supporters after the bombings. At the same game that Bauman recounted, the department said Ortiz, “stepped up and did so big time.”
As our officers milled about in the runway that leads out to the field prior to the game vs the Kansas City Royals, Big Papi made a point to stop, thank, hug and interact with every officer he saw,” the department posted on their blog. “In fact, he even let several of our officers hold and play around with his game bat. Nobody saw it. It was under the stands and out of the public eye. But, that’s Big Papi, who he is and how he rolls.”
Ortiz has been known to donate time and resources to many charities, and his legacy of giving back continues.
Ortiz and the legendary artist Peter Max have signed 1000 prints of a one-of-a-kind commemorative oil painting of the player.
The Red Sox Foundation is selling the posters for $1000 each. All of the proceeds go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps children in New England and the Dominican Republic who do not have access to pediatric care.
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