David Ortiz, the retired baseball player who became one of the game’s most respected athletes while playing a key role in Boston ending its 86-year World Series drought, was shot in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, according to the country’s national police.
Ortiz, 43, was shot once in the back at a club in East Santo Domingo, the police said. He was in stable condition at a hospital Sunday night.
His father, Leo Ortiz, told reporters that his son was out of danger and that the bullet did not hit any major organs. Ortiz’s media assistant, Leo Lopez, told ESPN that Ortiz underwent surgery for six hours and that part of his intestines, colon and gallbladder were removed.
The gunman ambushed Ortiz after getting off a motorcycle and shooting the ballplayer in the back at nearly point-blank range, a police spokesman told The Associated Press. The suspect was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, and the police would wait for him to be treated before he is questioned, the spokesman said.
Ortiz, who played 20 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2016, spent 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, where he established himself as one of the city’s most successful and beloved athletes. He finished with 541 home runs, placing 17th all time, and was part of three World Series-winning teams.
The Red Sox said Monday that Ortiz was recovering after surgery.
“We have offered David’s family all available resources to aid in his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts,” the team said in a statement.
Commonly known by his nickname, Big Papi, Ortiz has raised millions of dollars through his foundation to help children’s medical needs in New England and the Dominican Republic, where he was born. He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021.
He may be best known for his role in helping the Red Sox end their 86-year World Series curse in 2004. That year, he buried the rival New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series with a home run to end Game 4, a single to win Game 5 and another home run in Game 7.