The same number was emblazoned across the backs of many fans' jerseys at Fenway Park on Monday night: 34.
“I’m wearing a David Ortiz jersey in honor of one of the best sluggers in Red Sox history,” said Kevin Hannon of Melrose.
"Big Papi" was on the minds of many fans Monday, after news broke that he was shot in the back Sunday night in a bar in his native Dominican Republic. He arrived in Boston late Monday on a plane the Red Sox sent to bring him to Massachusetts General Hospital for medical treatment.
Ortiz had been in stable condition in intensive care at a Santo Domingo hospital after doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine, according to his spokesman, Leo López. He said Ortiz's liver was also damaged in the shooting Sunday night.
Though Ortiz retired after the 2016 season, his jersey is still a common sight around Fenway. But there seemed to be even more of them than usual on Monday. Joe Garceau of Everett also wore his after hearing the news.
“I thought it was very sad,” Garceau said. “He seems like a great guy. He’s a legend here, and we all love him here. Hope for the best for him.”
Sox fan Julita Rojas wore a signed Ortiz jersey that she says she won in a lottery when she sent in a losing scratch ticket.
“I love Papi, he has always been my hero,” she said. “And I feel bad for whatever happened to him.”
Rojas said she feels a connection with Ortiz because she’s from Puerto Rico. “And he is from Dominican Republic, and we are like family,” she said with a laugh.
Ortiz led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs.
“It’s hard to express what David Ortiz means to the Boston Red Sox,” team president Sam Kennedy said Monday afternoon. “And when you love someone and they come into harm’s way, it’s jarring.”
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora played with Ortiz for four seasons. “The thing about David, he’s strong, he has no fear, he never shows weaknesses,” Cora said. “So because of that reason, the Lord will be with him.”
Monday’s game began with the announcer’s voice addressing the situation over the loudspeakers.
“All of us were shocked by last night’s news about David Ortiz, and our community has felt a palpable concern ever since," the announcer said. "As befits his outsized personality, wishes for a speedy recovery have poured in from all over baseball, from the world of sports, and even from respected world leaders. He is loved throughout our nation and beyond, yet to us, he is our own adopted son. Won’t you please join us, as we offer a moment of reflection, thought and prayer for a complete healing and a full recovery for our beloved Big Papi.”
Fenway was silent for 12 seconds before fans erupted in cheers of support.
The Sox weren’t able to win one for Big Papi on Monday, losing 4-3 to the Texas Rangers in 11 innings.
After the game, ace pitcher Chris Sale talked with reporters about Ortiz.
“You’re talking about a guy who’s put a team and a city on his back his entire career,” he said. “Obviously, we’re thinking about him. We had a meeting before the game about it. He’s as much a part of this team as anybody’s ever been. Yesterday was tough day, and today, too. We’re obviously glad he’s doing well and he’s back here in good hands. So we’re just hoping for the best, and try to get some wins for him. Nothing would make him happier, that’s for sure.”
“You can’t really put into words what he has done for us and for everybody here,” pitcher Matt Barnes said after the game. “It truly is a tragedy and we’re all keeping him in our prayers and hoping for a speedy recovery.”
The gunman was not immediately identified or arrested and the motive for the shooting is under investigation. The driver of the motorcycle that was carrying the gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, authorities said.
Two other people were wounded, including Jhoel López, a Dominican TV host who was with Ortiz. Police believe López was wounded by the same bullet and his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.