Ortiz humbled to go into sunset at top of game

Ortiz humbled to go into sunset at top of game

BOSTON -- Throughout his ceremonious and memorable final Major League season, David Ortiz somehow kept it all together. He was able to show gratitude for the gifts and the compliments, all the while raking the baseball as no 40-year-old ever had before.

But on Sunday, the day the Red Sox threw their grand party for him prior to Game No. 162, Ortiz finally chose to no longer hold back his emotions. On the field, he cried with the realization that his late mother Angela was the one meaningful person in his life who couldn't take part in the event.

When a donation of $1 million was made to his Children's Fund Charity, Ortiz was beside himself at the kindness of the gesture, hugging anyone within reach.

There was a bridge and a street named after him, and the announcement that No. 34 will be retired at Fenway Park next season.

"I think any time you get bridges and roads named after you, you've obviously got one hell of a legacy. That is David Ortiz," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Papi thanks family, teammates

Perhaps it was no surprise that Ortiz's bat finally gave out on him, as he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

It had been a whirlwind week, including a clinch celebration in New York and the heartfelt celebration the Yankees threw for him on Thursday. Then he came home for a weekend-long Papi-fest, and was blown away by all the love.

"I'm exhausted," said Ortiz. "I'm not going to lie to you. This past week, it caught up to me. I'm so happy that it's over so I can focus on what's coming up next: the playoffs."

In Ortiz's final regular season, he slashed .315/.401/.620 while belting 38 homers to go with 127 RBIs. His final stat log will show these career figures: 632 doubles, 541 homers, 1,192 extra-base hits and 1,768 RBIs.

It's still hard to believe Ortiz is choosing to retire while he's one of the most dangerous hitters in the game. But Ortiz is ready for one more postseason run, and then completely at peace with his decision to walk away from the game. The countless extra hours in the trainer's room just so he could play every night ultimately became too much.

"It's a career that comes and goes," said Ortiz. "And during your period of time, you got to do whatever it takes to do it right. And I always knew the time was going to be up at some point and I'm prepared for it. I prepared myself. I've been thinking about it for the past three, four years, since I got that injury in 2012."

Gomes on Big Papi's retirement

Ortiz then went out of his way to give a special shoutout to physical therapist Dan Dyrek. Decades ago, Dyrek extended the career of another Boston sports legend -- Larry Bird of the Celtics -- with the endless work on his back. And Ortiz makes no bones about the fact he wouldn't have made it this far without Dyrek working on his ailing feet every day.

"You know, I have a superhero in the clubhouse that helped me out to hold on to being able to play," said Ortiz. "We have a doctor named Dan. He came to the field -- he was the one with the red jacket that gave me the golden bat. That guy, he's special, man. He's special. He's so special that when my feet know that he's around, they start feeling better."

His final regular season now complete, Ortiz hopes to provide his team and his fans with a few more memorable swings.

"All the big hits in [the] 2013 [postseason], a lot of them, everyone was so excited," said Jonny Gomes, one of the many former teammates who returned to Fenway on Sunday. "After a while, I was like, 'When are we going to stop being surprised? When are we just going to be like, there's another one.' He's obviously going out on top now. So we're never going to see that time when David didn't drive the bus."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.