Papi’s last hurrah an exhilarating ride for Sox

The Red Sox returned to prominence in 2016 with an entertaining year that included a legend’s final masterpiece, the emergence of a young superstar, an unlikely American League Cy Young Award winner and an AL East title.

Coming off consecutive last-place finishes, it was a season to savor for Boston’s passionate baseball fans.

Through it all, there were epic comebacks, monster performances and those creative outfield victory dances.

2016 Year in Review Final 2016 MLB stats Final 2016 MLB standings Hot Stove Tracker Select a team ¬–AL East ¬BaltimoreBostonNew YorkTampa BayToronto–AL Central ¬ChicagoClevelandDetroitKansas CityMinnesota–AL West ¬HoustonLos AngelesOaklandSeattleTexas–NL East ¬AtlantaMiamiNew YorkPhiladelphiaWashington–NL Central ¬ChicagoCincinnatiMilwaukeePittsburghSt. Louis–NL West ¬ArizonaColoradoLos AngelesSan DiegoSan FranciscoFull coverage ¬–PostseasonAll-Star GameDraftStatcastOpening DayHall of Fame inductionsJackie Robinson DayRoberto Clemente DayFort Bragg GameTrade DeadlineWinter MeetingsAwardsFeats, tributes ¬–Ichiro reaches 3,000 hitsArrieta’s second career no-hitterScherzer strikes out 20Scully retires after legendary careerBig Papi calls it a careerJose Fernandez: 1992-2016Monte Irvin: 1919-2016Ralph Branca: 1926-2016

Though the postseason didn’t go as the Red Sox hoped — they were swept by the eventual AL champion Indians in the Division Series — the young core that surrounds veterans Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and David Price seems poised for more success over the next several years.

“We took a big step going from last place to winning the division,” retiring slugger David Ortiz said the night the season ended. “That’s a good sign. And I know this organization. Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the squad is going to get the pieces to be able to compete next year and do better at this stage.”

As it turns out, Papi was on the money. Dombrowski capped the year with a blockbuster trade that brings five-time All-Star Chris Sale to Boston.

Here is a look back at the most memorable parts of 2016.

5. An ace emerges

It wasn’t outlandish to predict that the AL’s Cy Young Award winner would come from the Red Sox. After all, Price had signed …

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