In David Ortiz's final season, he played one of the best seasons of his career. He led the MLB with a 1.021 OPS, tied for the AL lead with 127 RBIs and blasted 38 home runs while hitting .315/.401/.620. His numbers were so good he could contend for the AL MVP award.
Often during his final year, Ortiz was asked if he could play one more season. With numbers so good it seemed like a reasonable question, but Ortiz always said no.
Ortiz salutes the Red Sox crowd one final time. Photo Courtesy of Matt Campbell/EPA
The biggest reason Ortiz gave on his decision to retire was his aching feet and the pain his 40 year old body undergoes throughout a 162 game season. In fact, Red Sox coordinator of sports medicine services, Dan Dyrek, said Ortiz's feet were way more complicated than an achilles tendon problem, which it was often referred to. Dyrek explained how Ortiz playing this season affected every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet.
“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”
The fact that David Ortiz was able to play through these injuries is incredible. In fact just trotting around the bases after hitting a home run sounds like it would be painful. And he didn't just play through it, he put up numbers worthy of getting votes for the AL MVP.