We’ve been putting this off for too long, but we know we have to face this reality. Papi, you are leaving us this week for your last regular season game and we are not sure how much time we have left together. You are the last link we have between that miracle moment in 2004. You saw us through the World Series victories in 2007 and 2013 as well. You helped us through one of the darkest times in the cities history with your infamous, “This is our f***ing city” speech after the Boston Marathon attacks. You were everything the city of Boston needed in a Red Sox hitter and more.
Especially over the past six stellar seasons, you averaged an amazing 31 home runs and .931 OPS. You’re a Ten-Time All Star and holder of the 54 home run record in your 2006 season. 540 career runs (as of this writing) and 17th of all time home runs in Major League Baseball history. The all time leader in the MLB as a designated hitter in home runs, RBIs and hits. Enough statistics though. The bond we have as a city with you goes beyond the numbers you put up on the score board.
In 2004, you hit 41 home runs, but your walk off home run off of Jarrod Washburn against the Anaheim Angels and then your walk offs against the Yankees in the American League championship solidified your legendary status. These were essential moments in breaking an 86 year dry spell of World Series victories and those moments in particular made us really sit up and realize what we had in you. You had opportunities to go elsewhere after you made your mark that year, we are sure. But you stuck with us and we will never forget that. You made your love and appreciation of Boston clear to the city through and through.
We’ve all got our own Big Papi stories because you actually came out into the city and became a part of the community. You signed autographs, smiled and took pictures with us. You worked with local organizations when you could and gave to local charities. You were sincere in a city that smells bullsh*t from a mile away. When we weren’t happy with you (which was rare) you knew it.
This is a hard city to be a professional baseball player in. Not everyone works out here, even if they have the talent. We put the pressure on everyone and can be temperamental, but you understood that and how to work with it.This is the end of an era for the Red Sox and all of us as a city. At the rate things are going this season, we’ve got our fingers crossed for one more long ride together, but either way you’ve done more than enough.
We salute and thank you, Big Papi.
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