Red Sox fans wish for first ballot Hall of Fame induction for Big Papi
Because of the current lockout surrounding negotiations over a new CBA, all of these gifts will be arriving after Christmas. The results of the 2022 Hall of Fame class won’t be announced until January 25th. With no news on how CBA negotiations are progressing, it’s quite possible that we know the results of the 2022 HOF voting before we know who the team is able to sign or trade for.
Headlining the first-time eligible players on the 2022 HOF ballot is former Red Sox great David Ortiz. No player has symbolized the Boston Red Sox over their generation as champions from 2004 to present more than Ortiz. Big Papi was, and still is, the perfect ambassador for the franchise and the city of Boston. He’s adored by Red Sox fans and respected by all fans throughout the MLB landscape.
Beyond his hulking frame, his giant smile, and his infectious energy, Ortiz has the numbers to justify his selection to baseball’s most prestigious club in Cooperstown. Ortiz finished his career with 541 home runs, 1768 RBI, and a .931 OPS. He was even more spectacular in the postseason, winning the 2004 ALCS MVP en route to the Red Sox winning their first World Series in 86 years, and taking home the 2013 World Series MVP after hitting .688 with a 1.948 OPS. For his postseason career Ortiz hit .289 with a .947 OPS, and had a total of 17 home runs, several of them among the most memorable, and most clutch in MLB postseason history.
Still, Ortiz is not considered to be a lock for first ballot induction. Baseball writers who vote for the Hall have been slow to give players that were primary Designated Hitters consideration. Edgar Martinez, considered to be the best primary DH ever (before Ortiz), had to wait until his final year on the ballot to be inducted.
There’s also PED suspicion surrounding Ortiz, although that suspicion was never tied to any formal testing and Ortiz has been vocal about his disdain for PED use in the game. He played nearly a decade after MLB instituted PED testing and never once tested positive.
There’s also the arrogance of the BBWAA voters and their stance on not voting deserving players in on the first ballot unless the players accomplishments are so outstanding that not voting for them would call their legitimacy (as voters) into question. However, Ortiz fits that profile in many ways. He’s statistically the best ever at his position. He’s firmly in the conversation for best postseason hitter ever, and he’s universally liked by all associated with the game- even Yankee fans.
Ortiz’s presence has been larger than life, both on and off the field, since joining the Red Sox as a reclamation project in 2003. He carried this storied franchise and it’s passionate fan base through it’s finest moment in 2004, and carried this city through it’s darkest days (the Boston Marathon bombing) in 2013. From introducing the world to champagne goggles, to reminding the world just who’s fu*king city this is, Ortiz has been the heart and soul of Boston. One more party to celebrate this great man, his storied career, and his legacy as a Major League icon might just be the greatest gift any Red Sox fan could wish for.
While labor negotiations will likely leave Red Sox fans disappointed on Christmas morning, there is hope among the fan base that their Christmas wishes will be addressed once the business of baseball is resumed. These gifts would make for a perfect Christmas. Whenever Major League Baseball decides to open up their holiday season.