It’s impossible for me to imagine a Boston Red Sox team without David Ortiz. That isn’t an exaggeration either. After all, he’s been on the team since I was just nine years old.

I vaguely remember witnessing the struggles of pre-2003 Red Sox squads. I do remember my favorite players being Pedro Martinez (duh), Manny Ramirez (double duh), Nomar Garciaparra (triple duh) and CARL EVERETT, BABYYYY! Everett hit a home run in the first Sox game I ever attended, so he was an instant favorite after that. What a great role model for seven-year-old me.

Anyway, my point here is that almost all of my Red Sox memories up to this point start with Big Papi as Boston’s beloved DH. Those memories start around here:

(I never noticed the little kid saying “nice hit” over and over again to Ortiz after the HR. Hilarious.)

Man, little did we all know of the postseason heroics that would follow in the coming years.

Since Manny Ramirez had already been on the Red Sox for a couple years prior to Ortiz’s arrival, Ortiz definitely played second-fiddle to him in my mind. However, it didn’t take him too long to change that.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

You get the point. David Ortiz helped break the 86-year “curse” on the Red Sox and would’ve lived on forever in Boston’s heart based on that fact alone. But he wasn’t done there. Not even close.

Papi hit 483 homers as a member of the Red Sox. That doesn’t include his 17 postseason bombs. From 2004 on he served as the leader on a ballclub that would compete for championships pretty much year in and year out. Along with the clutch hits and 40-50 homer seasons, Ortiz provided us with hilarious moments like this…

and of course this.

Sometimes, Ortiz’s temper was frustrating to deal with as a Red Sox fan. One specific time that comes to mind is when he bursted into then-manager Terry Francona’s press conference and complained about not being awarded an RBI during the game that day.

Annoying at the time (at least in my opinion), but hilarious to look back on. Ortiz was just a passionate guy. That’s one word I’ll always associate with him: Passionate.

Needless to say, Ortiz left us with more remarkable moments than I could ever reasonably fit into a blog post. But for me the two best moments came during the 2013 season.

He lifted the city when we needed him most:

And carried us on his back for what seemed like the billionth time:

(I screamed so loud after that grand slam that my father thought there was a fire).

I’ve never counted on anyone in my life more than I counted on David Ortiz when he came up to the plate. When you saw his name under “Due Up:” in a tight game, you just had a feeling you were about to witness something phenomenal.

I’ll remember Ortiz for his aforementioned passion. I’ll remember him for the fear I saw in opposing pitchers’ eyes whenever he walked up to the plate in a clutch situation. I’ll remember him as heart and soul of Boston baseball.

I’ll remember him as a legend in every sense of the word.

Thank you, Papi.