Papi's Dominican touch follows him to Boston
Slugger's outgoing personality, charitable work leave mark on Hispanic community
BOSTON -- The David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic will be in its sixth year of existence when packs of A-listers flock to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in December.
Ortiz's native land is near and dear to his heart. So, too, are the local children, whom he has been raising money for since he began his charity work.
It's a worthy cause, and one fit to highlight during Hispanic Heritage Month. As is Ortiz, who is so attached to his homeland that he decided to bring a taste of the Dominican to Boston during his inaugural Children's Fund Gala on Monday.
"As many kids over there [in the Dominican] that need help, there are kids like that here, too," he said. "We want to give help ... to be able to do some good things for the family."
But the event was more than helpful -- it was also a lot of fun. There were Latin musicians, masked dancers in lavish costumes and trays of tasty Dominican food.
"So people know a little bit about my country," Ortiz explained. "Some people never get to get out of town for some reason. For them to know what we got, it's good."
Since his arrival in Boston in 2003, Ortiz has left his mark on the local Latin community with his charitable contributions and outgoing personality.
"The Latin community of Boston and Latin community of the world, frankly, has embraced David and will continue to do that because he represents so much that's good and important about Latin culture," said Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino. "He's a real hero of people of any ethnicity."
When Ortiz first came into the Major Leagues as a 21-year-old in 1997, he was one of 57 Dominican-born players in the Majors. In 2011, there were 86 Dominican-born Major Leaguers. With the expansion of international scouting, that number could rise even more.
"It's been great," Ortiz said of the Dominican influence in the Majors. "We've been doing it for a long time and that's the one farm that has been developing a lot of great players. It gets no better."
Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.