David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox to three World Series championships. Wednesday, on his 40th birthday, the legendary slugger announced his nearly 20-year career would end after the 2016 season. Ortiz made the announcement via YouTube.
Ortiz, who started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 1997 before taking his talents to the Red Sox in 2003, referred to his teammates as a second family. During his time with this second family, Ortiz has tallied 2,303 hits, 1,641 runs batted in, and 503 home runs, a statistic that puts him at 27th on the all-time list.
The announcement does not come as a surprise. The Red Sox finished their 2014 season with an underwhelming 78-84 record. Ortiz indicated in October that his days as a professional baseball player were numbered. "I don't know how much more time I have," he said via The Boston Globe.
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The sport of baseball owes a lot to Ortiz, and Ortiz recognizes the impact of baseball on his life. "Baseball besides God flipped my whole life over," he said. "I'm really proud of what I have accomplished through the years. I'm very thankful for having fans like you guys... I wish I could play another 40 years."
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Ortiz has been a pillar in the Boston community and around the world, winning the Roberto Clemente Award for his philanthropy in the Dominican Republic and New England. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox, helped his team reach another championship.
He concluded his statement by saying, "After next year, time is up, so let's enjoy next season."
See photos of David Ortiz over the years: