Few New Englanders would describe the memorable 2013 Red Sox season as anything short of miraculous. With Boston recovering from the spring Marathon bombing tragedy, the Red Sox put together a comeback season for the ages, one that mirrored the city’s strength and resiliency to “B” Strong; to set to mind a task, and get it done.
In photos, I’ve presented my summer of 2013 Red Sox story. Like all Bostonians, the events of April 15 dramatically changed my life. Coincidentally, just the day after, I’d received a coveted baseball souvenir. I’d won an online auction fors the actual game-used First Base bag from the 2013 World Baseball Classic Championship game. It was a highly sought after piece of baseball history from the game where the undefeated Dominican Republic team shut out neighboring Puerto Rico for the title.
Being a savvy baseball memorabilia collector, I originally wanted this item for myself. But with the timing of the bombings and the delivery coming when it did, I was quickly confronted with a crisis of conscience. I decided the best move was to give this amazing souvenir to the country and region of the world where it belonged, and being a lifelong fan, to also give it to the Red Sox.
I donated the base to the Sox in honor of the Jimmy Fund. This, in highest appreciation to them for their efforts in treating my 19 year-old son Jake who, just a year ago, was unexpectedly diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, an extremely rare form of cancer.
In the end we won the World Series title with skill, style, and sportsmanship. Fittingly, it was David Ortiz who delivered the recovery message of strength on behalf of the city and then deservedly won the World Series MVP. After nearly 100 years, multiple generations of devoted Red Sox faithful had the pleasure of watching us clinch Game 6 at Fenway Park. One of the lucky few to go to the game was my son Jake.
Truth is, we’re all potentially only moments away from a life-changing event like being told we have cancer. The strength of my son and all the young adults and children at Dana Farber facing the upheaval of an unexpected disease in their lives truly embodies the spirit of “B” Strong. The depth of courage and spirit they possess, along with that of their families, is tremendously inspirational.
It’s in this spirit that I dedicate this story and season to my son and to all who have supported our entire family through a difficult time. Let’s not forget some of New England’s other world-class teams: Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Jimmy Fund. They’re not sports teams but pack an equally powerful line up. They’re also a big part of what truly make us Boston Strong.
This Thanksgiving, I’m very thankful my son and I shared this fantastic season together, right along with his illness. Not many fathers and sons are afforded the highest honor of meeting Big Papi personally, and during this special season and under such unique circumstances. So in this season of miracles, I gotta believe that if miraculous turnarounds can happen for the Red Sox, they can also happen for Jake.
A Dominican national treasure, signed by one of the most famous Red Sox and Dominican players, will be in its native country, permanent property of no other MLB team than our beloved Red Sox for perpetuity. Yes, the cold is coming, but for me, Jake, and all of Red Sox Nation, the Red Sox Championship win will certainly warm our hearts through the upcoming winter months, and for many more months and years to come.
All photos/art by Courtesy of Hugh Baver