Boston renames street after retired slugger David Ortiz

Ortiz will always have fond memories of Boston (1:52)

David Ortiz speaks about Boston's resiliency after the city named a street after the former Red Sox slugger. (1:52)

BOSTON -- Boston renamed a street in honor of retired Red Sox star David Ortiz on Thursday.

Mayor Marty Walsh called the man known as Big Papi a "legend on and off the field" at the ceremony to rename the street formerly known as Yawkey Way Extension, near Fenway Park, to David Ortiz Drive.

Taking the podium in front of a crowd of high school ballplayers, with Red Sox employees hanging out the windows and watching from the Fenway roof across the street, Ortiz said, "This city means a lot to me. This city got me to where I am.''

A giant No. 34 also will line the way, joining numbers for those previously retired by the team (and the No. 42 retired by all of baseball for Jackie Robinson).

Ortiz retired last season after a 20-year major league career, including 14 years in Boston. The designated hitter helped the Red Sox win three World Series championships, including their first in 86 years in 2004.

He is also remembered for rallying the city after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, when he grabbed a microphone on the Fenway mound and declared, "This is our f---ing city.''

"In one of the darkest moments of the city, he was somebody that lifted us right up,'' Walsh said, right before a pair of school buses drove by, with students hanging out the window and yelling "Big Papi!''

Noting that he's watched Ortiz work both on and off the field, Walsh said, "He has a heart as big as our city.''

A bridge near Fenway Park is already named for Ortiz. The Red Sox are scheduled to retire his No. 34 on Friday -- 265 days after he walked off the Fenway field for the last time as a player.

"That short amount of time is a symbol,'' team president Sam Kennedy said Thursday, "of how everyone ... feels about the player who was the most important player in the history of the Red Sox.''