Skip to content Skip to footer

We almost lost a legend, thank God we still have David Ortiz

After suffering a gunshot wound in the back at point-blank range, multiple outlets have reported that legendary Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, also known as “Big Papi,” is now in “stable” condition.

Arrangements are being made to airlift him from his native Dominican Republic, the site of the incident, and where Papi spends at least several months a year, to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

According to doctors, Papi said, “Please don’t let me die. I’m a good man.” When he opened his eyes following a six-hour surgery, he first asked to see his family.

One suspect, Eddy Vladimir Féliz García, was named, while the other remained at large. The shooting, which took place outside the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo, was determined to be not a robbery. Further, Ortiz’s assistant, Leo Lopez, said the DH did not know the suspect.

Many MLB players, including A-Rod, Mike Trout of the Angels, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, and Papi’s former teammate Pedro Martinez, tweeted their prayers for Big Papi on Sunday.

Among the well-wishers were Tom Brady and President Obama, who noted how Papi had helped “heal” the city of Boston following the devastating Boston Marathon shootings.

The Red Sox released a statement on Sunday:

“We have offered David’s family all available resources to aid in his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts.”

As a lifetime fan of the Red Sox — an anomaly among New Yorkers, and a result of my dad’s upbringing — I’ve spent many years rooting for Papi. He was my brother’s favorite player, and his first jersey was Papi’s #34. It was always thrilling to see Papi smash a home run, and always come through in clutch moments.

After an 80-year championship drought, Papi, a 10-year All-Star, was instrumental in breaking the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004. Titles in 2007, 2011, and 2013 followed, with Papi winning MVP for the last one. Big Papi helped turn a once-cursed team into a quasi-dynasty.

The Yankees even honored him with a ceremony in his last game at Yankee Stadium. He retired in 2016.

In retirement, Papi continued to cheer on his team, offering advice to the players during their 2018 Championship season (which also marked the franchise’s win record, with 108).

He remains the face of the team; of the city and the Dominican Republic; and of baseball.