The Red Sox today announced that 10-time All-Star David Ortiz's number 34 will be retired on Friday, June 23, in pregame ceremonies preceding the Red Sox-Angels game at Fenway Park. The club announced plans to retire his number before his final regular season game in 2016 as a tribute to his exceptional career in a Red Sox uniform.
The number 34 will be the 11th on the right field facade of Fenway Park, joining Bobby Doerr's #1; Joe Cronin's #4; Johnny Pesky's #6; Carl Yastrzemski's #8; Ted Williams' #9; Jim Rice's #14; Wade Boggs' #26; Carlton Fisk's #27; Pedro Martinez's #45; and Jackie Robinson's #42, which is retired throughout Major League Baseball.
After signing with the Red Sox as a free agent on January 22, 2003, Ortiz became just the seventh player to appear in at least 14 consecutive seasons for the Red Sox (2003-16), along with Carl Yastrzemski (23), Dwight Evans (19), Tim Wakefield (17), Jim Rice (16), Jason Varitek (15), and Ted Williams (15). Ortiz is Boston's only three-time World Champion in the post-World War I era, having led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004, 2007, and 2013.
Ortiz hit 483 home runs with the Red Sox, a total that trails only Ted Williams (521) on the franchise's all-time list. He also ranks among all-time club leaders in RBI (3rd; 1,530), hits (6th; 2,079), doubles (3rd; 524), extra-base hits (3rd; 1,023), runs scored (5th; 1,204), walks (4th; 1,133), total bases (5th; 4,084), times on base (4th; 3,241), and games played (5th; 1,953). Among players with at least 3,000 plate appearances for the Red Sox, Ortiz ranks fourth in slugging percentage (.570) and OPS (.956), having hit .290 with a .386 on-base percentage with Boston.
Known as the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history, Ortiz is the franchise's all-time leader with 10 walk-off home runs in the regular season. He recorded an additional seven walk-off hits with Boston, as his 17 game-ending RBI rank first in franchise history since RBI became an official statistic in 1920 (source: Elias Sports Bureau). The 2016 season was Ortiz's 10th with at least 100 RBI, passing Ted Williams for the most such seasons in Red Sox history. He is one of only five players to record as many as 10 seasons with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI for a single team, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, and Albert Pujols.
In 2016 Ortiz batted .315 (169-for-537) and led the major leagues in doubles (48), extra-base hits (87), slugging percentage (.620), and OPS (1.021), also pacing the Red Sox in home runs (38), RBI (127), walks (80), and on-base percentage (.401). He set major league records for most homers, RBI, doubles, and extra-base hits in a final season, and also set single-season records in each of those categories for a player age 40 or older (source: Elias Sports Bureau). The 2016 season was Ortiz's 10th with at least 100 RBI, passing Ted Williams for the most such seasons in Red Sox history. He is one of only five players to record as many as 10 seasons with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI for a single team, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, and Albert Pujols.
Named MVP of the 2004 ALCS and of the 2013 World Series, Ortiz is the Red Sox' career leader in postseason games (76), runs (51), hits (80), doubles (19), home runs (17), extra-base hits (38), RBI (57), total bases (154), and walks (59). He won Games 4 and 5 of the 2004 ALCS with walk-off hits in Boston's historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series versus New York, and in 2013 he provided the signature moment of the Red Sox' postseason by hitting a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning of a 6-5 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS. Among major leaguers with at least 50 plate appearances in the Fall Classic, Ortiz owns the best-ever World Series batting average (.455), on-base percentage (.576), and slugging percentage (.795).
Originally signed by the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent in November 1992, Ortiz compiled a lifetime .286 batting average (2,472-for-8,640) in 2,408 games, totaling 1,768 RBI, 1,419 runs scored, a .380 on-base percentage, a .552 slugging percentage, and a .931 OPS. His 541 home runs rank 17th in major league history, while he also ranks in the top 10 all-time in doubles (10th; 632) and extra-base hits (T-8th; 1,192). Ortiz is one of just four players with at least 500 career homers and three World Series championships, along with Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson.
Among designated hitters, Ortiz is the all-time major league leader in games (2,029), hits (2,191), doubles (557), home runs (485), extra-base hits (1,060), total bases (4,239), and RBI (1,569). He earned the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award a record eight times (2003-07, 2011, 2013, 2016), and his seven Silver Slugger Awards as DH (2004-07, 2011, 2013, 2016) are the most ever at the position. He also twice earned the American League's Hank Aaron Award (2005, 2016), given annually to the top offensive performer in each league.
A champion of charitable initiatives, Ortiz won the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball's highest honor for those who best represent the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field. He created the David Ortiz Children's Fund to provide critical pediatric services in New England and in his native Dominican Republic. In Boston, he has provided his time and other resources to Mass General Hospital for Children, donating tickets to patients from the hospital as part of his "Papi's Pals" program.