It was an unusual scenario at Fenway last night. The Cleveland Indians swept the Red Sox and clinched their spot in the American League Championship Series with a 4-3 win, but Boston fans were cheering after the game ended.
After the Indians stormed the mound to celebrate their first ALCS appearance since 2007, Boston fans were sticking around and chanting “Papi, Papi.” That’s because Boston fans wanted to give one of their most remarkable and respected players in history one last good-bye.
The Indians sent David Ortiz into retirement earlier than the slugger expected, and fans weren’t ready to let go. After the Red Sox players went to the clubhouse, media relations staff told Ortiz of the scene inside Fenway of fans cheering for him. Ortiz then proceeded to walk out to the mound with tears in his eyes, raising his arms up and saying good-bye to what he called “the best fan base in the world.”
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) October 11, 2016
Ortiz did not go out quietly this season; in fact he had statistically one of the best farewell seasons ever for a major league player. He led the majors in doubles (48), extra-base hits (87), slugging (.620) and OPS (1.021), tied for the league lead in RBIs (121), and belted 38 home runs, most ever by a player in his final season. On top of that, he helped lead the Red Sox to an AL East title; just one season after the Red Sox finished last in the division. This is the second time in four years Boston has gone from worst to first in the division.
Division Series Woes
Big Papi did quiet down during the division series though as the designated hitter went just 1-for-9 with a double in three games. Ortiz’s final plate appearance of his career came in the 8th inning; he drew a four pitch walk from Cleveland reliever Cody Allen. After Hanley Ramirez belted a single advancing Ortiz to second, manager John Farrell sent out Marco Fernandez to pinch-run for Ortiz on second, thus ending the career of one of baseball’s most loved players.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 11, 2016
With statistics and a legacy like Big Papi’s his Hall of Fame case is all but guaranteed.