No one will ever wear No. 34 for the Boston Red Sox ever again.

That decree came down Sunday afternoon less than an hour before Boston legend David Ortiz was set to take the field for his final regular season game as a member of the Red Sox.

Ortiz announced that 2016 would be his final season last November, and his farewell tour has been one for the ages. Ortiz set the record for most home runs, doubles, extra-base hits, and RBIs in a farewell season this year, and there is no hint of decline present in the twilight of his career. Unlike his fellow titans of sport to hang it up in recent years, Ortiz has avoided the precipitous drop-off to end his career that plagued Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriguez, and more.

This piece captures the true insanity of what Ortiz has accomplished at the age of 40.

Some naysayers may think this story reeks of PED use, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred discounted the one piece of evidence suggesting Ortiz might not have played clean.

That note from Manfred raises more questions than answers. Hopefully more information on that point will be provided in the future, but for now it only helps the celebration around Ortiz’s career feel all the more genuine.

An unconventional close to a legendary career deserves an unconventional honoring of that career. For the first time in team history, Ortiz’s number will be retired before his induction to the Hall of Fame.

Ortiz’s induction to Cooperstown is a matter of when, not if, but this is still a cool distinction for a player who has defined a team and a city for the last 14 years.

About Ben Sieck

Ben is a recent graduate of Butler University where he served as Managing Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Butler Collegian. He currently resides in Indianapolis.