The moment still remains one of the most memorable of my time watching the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz.

In Game 4 of the 2013 World Series, with Boston trailing in the Series 2-1, the Red Sox looked lifeless through five innings of a 1-1 game in St. Louis. Ortiz, who would bat in the sixth inning, waited for his teammates to come off the field, and then called them over.

A pep talk in the dugout?

It sounded hokey. But, again, this was David Ortiz speaking.

“It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher,” outfielder Jonny Gomes said. “He got everyone’s attention.”

Ortiz shrugged about the talk. “I’m the veteran dude on this team,” he said. “That’s why I have to say something.”

And soon, apparently, the Red Sox will be without their veteran dude.

Ortiz is reportedly going to announce that 2016 will be his last season – the announcement coming as soon as Wednesday, which is Ortiz’s 40th birthday.

Ortiz, the man with 503 home runs and some of biggest clutch hits in Red Sox history, is the soulful leader of this organization.

His eventual entry into the Hall of Fame will be debated, but not likely denied. His legacy as a leader for the Red Sox and Boston community will not be questioned.

And to think this all began with the Minnesota Twins giving up on Ortiz, not offering him a contract after the 2002 season.

But before you taunt the Twins over their ignorance, Boston was not sold on Ortiz, handing him “only” a $1.25 million contract, and platooning him with Jeremy Giambi at the beginning. Ortiz was not in the opening-day lineup and appeared in only 22 of the team’s 38 games – at which time he was batting .208 with one home run.

The Ortiz signing a bust? It would be the first of several times that fans wondered about Ortiz (including a short stint playing for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2008).

Ortiz would pick it up during his first season with Boston, finishing at .288, with 31 home runs.

The second year, 2004, was historic. Down three games to none to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, Boston trailed in Game 4, but rallied. Much is made of the Dave Roberts pinch-run steal in the ninth, followed by Billy Mueller’s RBI single to tie it, but it was Ortiz who won the game with a walk-off home run in the 12th.

In Game 5, Ortiz hit another walk-off with an RBI single in the bottom of the 14th.

Ortiz batted .387 with three home runs in the series, won by Boston, and then .308 and one home run in the four-game World Series sweep of the Cardinals.

In the 2007 World Series run, Ortiz batted .369 in the playoffs with three home runs.

Ortiz hit 35 home runs in 2007 at the age of 31.

But Ortiz got off to a slow start in 2008 and then injured a tendon in his wrist on May 31. He would miss over seven weeks – and spend three days on a rehab assignment with the Sea Dogs, July 21-23, selling out Hadlock Field all three games.

Ortiz batted .269 with only 23 home runs in 109 games, and there were whispers of his decline.

The whispers became groans in 2009. On May 19, Ortiz was batting .203 with zero home runs.

Washed up at 33?

Ortiz rallied for 28 home runs. But the decline in production was obvious.

Ortiz’s reputation took a hit in 2009 when his name surfaced on a list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in a supposedly-anonymous test in 2003. Ortiz said he never knowingly took a banned substance.

Then Ortiz began 2010 with a .143 April, and one home run.

Washed up at 34?

Ortiz ended up with 32 home runs, and Boston picked up his contract option for 2011 ($12.5 million).

Ortiz would then sign a one-year deal in 2012 ($14.6 million). But Ortiz was getting into a habit of complaining about his contract, wanting a multiyear deal. He reportedly used the word “humiliating” to describe his situation, which did not endear him.

Also, in 2012, Ortiz suffered an Achilles tendon injury and played only 90 games.

Washed up at 36?

Boston still signed him to a two-year deal ($26 million) before the 2013 season.

He earned it that year. Ortiz first became the voice of the “Boston Strong” theme after the Boston Marathon bombings when he addressed a Fenway Park crowd, announcing “This is our (expletive) city.”

Ortiz hit 30 home runs that season, but none was bigger than the grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, tying the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Boston went on to win, tying the series 1-1 (and winning in six games).

In the 2013 World Series, Ortiz batted .688. He hit two home runs. And he gave one inspirational dugout speech.

“Just gave us the little kick in the butt we needed,” said Gomes, who would hit a three-run homer in that inning, in Boston’s 4-2 win, on the way to the Red Sox’s (and Ortiz’s) third World Series title in 10 years.

Boston has not made the playoffs the past two years, but Ortiz has hit 64 home runs over the two seasons, moving into the 500 club.

Ortiz shows little sign of slowing down. But by announcing his impending retirement now, he does so while he is still one of the premier players.

Washed up at 40? Doubtful. But Ortiz would be tempting fate – i.e. the baseball gods – if he hung on too long.