David Ortiz – No. 34
With Ortiz set to retire after the 2016 season, the Red Sox must already be planning ahead for when they will retire his No. 34. Not to mention inducting him into the franchise Hall of Fame. He may even get a statue outside Fenway Park. That’s how much he has meant to this team.
Big Papi has a .288/.385/.566 slash line in his Red Sox career. In 2015 he became the latest member of the 500 home run club, 445 of which have come since he arrived in Boston. Only Ted Williams and Yaz have hit more homers in a Red Sox uniform.
Ortiz also has 17 career postseason home runs, which ranks 7th in league history. He also ranks 5th with 60 postseason RBI. He has been a part of three championship teams in Boston and was named MVP of the 2013 World Series. Throughout his epic career Ortiz has developed a well earned reputation for being one of the most clutch playoff hitters of this era.
The Hall of Fame seems to have a bias against players that primarily served as a designated hitter, with the exclusion of Edgar Martinez serving as the primary example of why Ortiz may struggle to get the call to Cooperstown. Martinez didn’t have Ortiz’s postseason accolades or championship rings, but Ortiz also has the dark cloud of PEDs hanging over him – despite that nobody knows what substance he allegedly took in 2003 to get his name included in the infamous Mitchell Report and he’s passed every drug test ever since. These are reasons why some voters may leave his name off their ballot when he becomes eligible, but they take nothing away from what Ortiz has meant to the Red Sox.
This merely provides another example of why the franchise needs to steer away from those old rules that stipulate criteria that players must meet in order to have their number retired by the team.
Boggs being honored is a sign that this ownership group may be ready to make some exceptions to those rules, which gives these five legends a fighting chance.