The Boston Red Sox hung up the No. 9 jersey of Ted Williams on the Fenway Park Façade a full 24 years after his final at bat with the team. Joe Cronin and Bobby Doerr had to wait 37 years and Jim Rice and Carlton Fisk 20 years apiece.
On Friday night, the No. 34 jersey of David Ortiz will join them less than one year after he left Fenway Park for the final time as a Red Sox player.
Sam Kennedy the team president called the short time a symbol of how everyone has felt and feels about a player who was the most important in the history of the Boston Red Sox franchise.
On Friday, the Red Sox will officially retire the No. 34 of Ortiz prior to their game versus the Los Angeles Angels. This will be the eleventh number that has been retired up on the Fenway Park façade and the third in the last three seasons.
Last year the farewell given Ortiz was one that lasted the entire season. Big Papi as he was affectionately called was showered by teams with gifts on his final trip to opponent’s ball parks.
The Red Sox organization celebrated the entire weekend with Ortiz and players at Fenway. One honor mentioned at that time would be the retiring of his number during the summer and Friday marks the date that will happen.
Things began one day early when Marty Walsh the Boston Mayor stopped at Fenway Thursday afternoon and helped to rename the street leading from Fenway to the nearest train station “David Ortiz Drive.”
Ortiz took the podium before a crowd that included ballplayers from high school, with employees from the Red Sox looking out the windows and others watching from the other side of the street on the roof of the ballpark.
Ortiz said that Boston means a great deal to him as it is the city that got him where he is today.
A huge No. 34 will also line the way, and join those previously retired by Boston and the No. 42 that all baseball clubs retired for Jackie Robinson.
Ortiz was 40 when he retired last fall and finished with one of his best seasons, hitting .316, with 38 home runs and an American League leading 127 runs batted in.
For his career with the Twins and the Red Sox, Ortiz finished with a batting average of .286, 541 home runs and 1,767 RBIs.