Dominican David Ortiz is honored by the city of his eternal rival

NEWTON-. He Dominican David Ortiza Hall of Famer, is committed to his post-career work as if he were swinging a bat during his playing days.

Last week he was honored in front of the New York State Senate along with the team he helps operate: The David Ortiz Children's Foundation.

The former Red Sox star and three-time World Series champion, who frustrated Yankees fans during his career, was recognized for his prolific career and philanthropic work.

With the Red Sox celebrating the 20th anniversary of the team that ended an 86-year title drought, the man known as “Big Papi†was front and center in Yankee territory, the team before which Boston overcame an 0-3 deficit in the American League Championship Series before winning the 2004 World Series.

Did you ever imagine being recognized in New York during your playing years?

“Not back then,†Big Papi said before letting out a hearty laugh.

“It is with great gratitude and humility that I received this recognition on their behalf,†he said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press at his annual golf tournament. “It was an honor. However, the last thing you would think about is that happening.â€

Ortiz's nonprofit organization provides cardiac care and attention services to children in the Dominican Republic and New England who cannot afford the costs. Since its inception, it has helped more than 16,000 infants and has provided more than 1,500 cardiac surgeries.

“They not only recognized the good player I was, they did so with the good things that I tried to achieve as a human being, not as a baseball player,†Ortiz said.

Just like playing in the Major Leagues, he knows that being part of a foundation requires the commitment not only of those under whom it is appointed, but of a strong work team.

“Celebrity foundations end up disappearing sooner than expected because, as I would say, things can get out of place,†Ortiz said. “I can't run a foundation. You need a team, a professional team. You never hear: 'Me, me, me.' No no no. I am a piece of what we are doing here. Without them this would work for two years and disappear.”

Ortiz is a huge Boston Celtics fan and is very excited about their current playoff run. He acknowledges that he could soon revive a fun rivalry in the NBA Finals with Puerto Rican former Yankee Alex Rodriguez, one of the owners of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“A-Rod knows what's coming,†Ortiz said between laughs. “We are going to beat them up. I felt very happy for him. That's the right thing to do right now. He is very involved. He joined as owner, and I tell you, when we are together, he is very dedicated to that.â€

Both former players work together on the national baseball pre- and postgame TV show along with Rodriguez's former teammate and Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter.