Prior to the start of the 2016 baseball season, David Oritz made the surprising announcement that he would be retiring at the end of the year. Fittingly, his final regular-season game occurred at Fenway Park on October 2nd, in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Ortiz had gone hitless in his first three at bats and when he came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out and no one on base, and the Red Sox trailing 2-1, fans knew that they were witnessing the end to one of the greatest careers in Red Sox history. Facing Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, Ortiz grounded out in the final regular-season at bat of his career. As he made his way back to the dugout, over 36,000 fans rose to their feet for one last curtain call.
Offered here is the bat used by Ortiz during his final regular-season at bat on October 2, 2016. Graded GU 10 by PSA. This is one of the most fully documented milestone bats we have ever seen. Not only has the bat been conclusively photo matched by PSA, but Ortiz himself has personally attested to its "last-regular-season-at-bat" provenance by inscribing the barrel twice in silver paint pen. The first inscription reads "Game Use 10/2/16 vs. Osuna Regular Season." The second is scripted "David Ortiz 2016 Final Season Big Papi." The bat is also accompanied by an affixed MLB authentication hologram label.
The two-tone Marucci pro-model ("Papi 34 CC III") bat, which is not cracked, measures 34.5 inches in length and weighs 33.1 ounces. Outstanding use is displayed throughout, including ball marks (with blue-ink transfers), cleat marks, pine tar, and Lizard Skin tape on the handle that extends 9.75" upward from the knob. Stamped on the knob are Ortiz's uniform number ("34"), the bat's date of manufacture ("09/08/16"), the bat's length ("4.5"), and its original factory weight ("2.0").
Ortiz's retirement came as a shock to many at the time, because he was still playing at an exceptionally high level. In 2015 he batted .273 with 37 home runs and 108 RBI. In 2016 he was even better, finishing the year with a .315 average, 38 home runs, and a league-leading 127 RBI, numbers that most players can only dream of totaling. In a 2016 mid-season interview with Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Ortiz explained that his main reasons for leaving the game were nagging injuries, his age, and the burdensome Major League travel schedule, not his ability to play the game. No other player has ever left the game on a higher note.
Collectors today rarely have the opportunity to obtain historically significant game-used bats such as this, as they are often kept by the player and/or family, or oftentimes are immediately donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is the rare exception and the fact that it was used by one of the greatest and most popular players of the modern era, not to mention the newest member of the Hall of Fame, makes it even more appealing. The inscriptions by David Ortiz on the barrel were obtained under the auspices of Fanatics and the company's hologram label is affixed to the reverse of the barrel. The MLB label is affixed to the knob, and the PSA label is affixed to the handle. Full LOA from PSA, which includes a detailed photo match.