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David Ortiz' time with the Red Sox may be coming to an end. There are widespread reports circulating Wednesday morning that Big Papi is retiring after the 2016 season.
Baseball writer and analyst Glenn Stout joined Morning Edition to discuss his career and legacy.
On this "bittersweet day" that's great for Ortiz, bad for fans:
Glenn Stout: "It's kind of an end of an era for Red Sox fans, I think. Ortiz is the only connection remaining on the club back to 2004 world championship, which is kind of the moment when everything changed. And of course Ortiz was at the center of that moment when everything changed when he hit that home run in the 12th inning of Game 4 against the Yankees in the playoffs. So yeah, it will be bittersweet for Red Sox fans. They certainly never had, in their lifetimes, anything to cheer like they have since Ortiz joined the club."
What should we remember Ortiz for?
GS: "I think Red Sox fans, in addition to the home runs and the RBIs that everybody's going to remember, they're also going to remember that he brought to this club a certain element of life and joy that really hadn't been there for a long time. If you consider the Red Sox and the 1990s and early 2000s, by and large they were sort of a faceless bunch that just went to work with a briefcase it seemed. And Ortiz came in here and he was larger than life — someone that the oldest and youngest fans could relate to. And that's what they're going to miss."
What's your most memorable Ortiz moment?
GS: "I think it has to go back to Game 4 against the Yankees in the 2004 playoffs. It was do or die for the Red Sox. It's the 12th inning. If the Red Sox lose that game, they're done. David Ortiz hits that home run and lo and behold the Red Sox are still alive. The momentum of that entire series changed. Beyond that, I think you also think about the moment after the Boston Marathon bombings where David Ortiz ended up speaking for the city. Those are the two moments that stick in my mind for Ortiz. They're kind of the bookends of his career. One is about him as a player and the last one is about him as a symbol."
Is he a strong candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame?
GS: "I think he's a strong candidate. I don't think he'll make it on the first ballot — I think it might be an extended period of time for him to make it, if he does make it. But, it really doesn't matter because, in New England, David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer already. He's going to experience that each and every day of the upcoming season."
This article was originally published on November 18, 2015.
This segment aired on November 18, 2015.
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