Hollywood Stars and Sports Figures Bid a Sad Farewell to Big Papi

Beloved Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz says goodbye to baseball with Boston’s loss to Cleveland

David Ortiz Boston Red Sox
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The Boston Red Sox getting knocked out of the post season by the Cleveland Indians on Monday wasn’t the Hollywood ending that fans had hoped for David “Big Papi” Ortiz, but it didn’t quell the outpouring of love for the adored designated hitter.

Ortiz, 40, had his farewell tour at the end of the regular season, and despite the unceremonious end to his 20-year career, he still went out on a high note.

“We want Papi,” fans at Fenway chanted long after the game ended, according to USA Today, even though their 2016 season was cut short after the Indians beat the Sox 4-3 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series to sweep the series. As for the gigantic Dominican Republic native, he just couldn’t hold back the tears.

“When I walked to the mound, I realized that it was over,” he said during the post-game press conference, NESN reported. “And the emotion came back out again.”

Ortiz was a 10-time MLB All-Star, a three-time World Series champion (including one that ended an 86-year drought), and he holds the Red Sox single-season record for home runs with 54, set during the 2006 season. He hit 541 career home runs and ranks 17th on the MLB’s all-time home run list.

But it wasn’t just Big Papi’s professional performance that won him the hearts of Boston fans — and now a street and a bridge named after him. It was his infectious personality.

Ortiz memorably took the mic ahead of the first Sox game at Fenway after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, where he told the crowd, “This is our f—ing city, and no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”

On Monday, it was the biggest names in sports and entertainment who had messages of their own for Big Papi. Actor John Cusack called him “pure class,” and Denis Leary said his favorite Big Papi moment was the “#TheSpeech,” while wearing a “Retired not Expired” T-shirt.

Even former rival and New Yankees star Alex Rodriguez showed his respect, tweeting, “The best clutch hitter I ever played against. Congrats on an amazing career.”

Last week, fellow Boston sports icon Tom Brady begged Ortiz not to retire via Facebook, but sadly not even the New England Patriots QB’s request could be granted.

See the latest tweets below.