Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer
Welcome to Cooperstown, David Ortiz! The results of the BBWAA vote for the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class were revealed Tuesday night on MLB Network. The long-time designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox was elected with 77.9% of the vote.
This was the first year on the ballot for Ortiz but that didn’t hold him back from receiving the most votes among the eligible candidates. While bias against the designated hitter and any sketchy speculation about PEDs may have cost him some votes, it clearly wasn’t enough to keep Ortiz from sneaking over the 75 percent threshold necessary for enshrinement.
Ortiz is the only candidate on this year’s ballot to be selected by the BBWAA. Former Red Sox pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling fell short on their 10th and final season on the ballot.
Ortiz spent the first six seasons of his career as a part-time player for the Minnesota Twins. While he showed promising power potential early in his career, some clear holes in his swing and limited defensive value led the Twins to cut bait with Ortiz after the 2002 season. It was a mistake that will haunt the franchise forever.
The Red Sox scooped Ortiz up from the scrap heap, following the advice of fellow Dominican, Pedro Martinez. What appeared to be a relatively minor transaction at the time proved to be a franchise-altering decision.
During his 14-year tenure in Boston, Ortiz made 10 All-Star appearances, won seven Silver Slugger awards and was at the center of three World Series championship teams. He finished in the top-five on the AL MVP ballot in each of his first five seasons with the Red Sox, including the 2005 season when he was the runner-up. Ortiz also placed in the top-10 on the MVP ballot in two of his final four seasons.
Ortiz finished his 20-year career hitting .286/.380/.552/.931. His 541 home runs are the 17th-most in MLB history. His 54 home runs in 2006 set the Red Sox single-season franchise record. Ortiz led the league in RBI three times and his 1768 career RBI are the 23rd-most in MLB history.
As impressive as his production was during the regular season, Big Papi was on another level when he reached the postseason stage. Ortiz earned his reputation as the most clutch hitter in postseason history with a highlight reel of dramatic moments. His walk-off homer to end Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. The walk-off base hit that followed in the 14th inning of Game 5 in that series. His game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS. These memorable moments only begin to describe the story of Ortiz’s postseason legacy.
Ortiz’s 17 postseason home runs are tied for 11th-most all-time and he’s tied for fourth with 61 postseason RBI. Ortiz is the all-time leader in postseason Win Probability Added with 3.2 WPA. He was named as the MVP of the 2004 ALCS and the 2013 World Series MVP.
Ortiz would have a worthy resume even if we were only counting his production in Boston. His 483 home runs in a Red Sox uniform trail only Ted Williams (521) in franchise history. Ortiz ranks third in franchise history with 1530 RBI and fourth with a .570 SLG.
Big Papi’s farewell tour was a memorable one. At the age of 40, Ortiz led the league with 48 doubles, 127 RBI, a .620 SLG and 1.021 OPS. He called it a career following that 2016 season and the Red Sox retired his No. 34 the following summer during a ceremony at Fenway Park. Ortiz was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2020.
Now Ortiz can add the greatest honor of all to his list of accomplishments – he is officially being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.