Congrats to Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend, David Ortiz
David Ortiz is heading to Cooperstown. Following the announcement that he has been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the lone member of the Class of 2022, a wave of congratulatory messages came flooding in from his former teammates with the Boston Red Sox, peers, rivals and fellow Hall of Famers.
Ortiz sat anxiously by the phone at his home in the Dominican Republic waiting for the Call from the Hall. Hovering over his shoulder was his friend and former Red Sox teammate, Pedro Martinez. When they received the good news, Pedro was among the first to receive a massive bear hug from the ecstatic Big Papi.
Martinez would later tweet a video to welcome Ortiz to Cooperstown and express how proud he is of his former teammate and “brother.”
Pedro was the ace of the Red Sox staff when Ortiz arrived in 2003. They both played a significant role in reversing an 86-year-old curse with a World Series championship the following year. While the free-agent departure of Martinez would limit their time together to only two seasons, their bond will last a lifetime. Pedro deserves credit for convincing the Red Sox front office to sign Ortiz to begin with, so following his advice turned out to be a franchise-altering decision.
Manny Ramirez was an indispensable member of the club that ended Boston’s championship drought in 2004 and he won another title alongside Ortiz in 2007. The dynamic duo formed arguably the league’s most feared pair of sluggers at the peak of their run together.
Manny posted a photo of Ortiz on Instagram with a caption that congratulated his former teammate.
"“Congratulations my brother @davidortiz,” the translated post reads, “with his well-deserved promotion to the Hall of Immortals of Major League Baseball, we feel more than honored, great pride and joy for all Dominicans what a blessing the years we played together were, they were unforgettable times! @God bless you @davidortiz”"
Ramirez fell well short of election with only 28.9 percent of the vote in his sixth year on the ballot. While his resume is undoubtedly worthy of the Hall of Fame, it’s clear that his two failed PED tests have spoiled his chances of getting inducted anytime soon, if he ever gets in at all.
Curt Schilling also won a pair of World Series rings alongside Ortiz and Ramirez. The former Red Sox pitcher received 58.6 percent of the vote in his 10th and final year on the ballot. Unlike Manny, the reasons for keeping Schilling out of the Hall of Fame aren’t PED-related. The controversial and offensive comments he’s made over the years, as well as his disdain for the media members responsible for casting these ballots, eliminated any chance he would be voted in by the BBWAA despite a productive career that warranted heavy consideration.
Schilling has made several outrageous and infuriating remarks since his career ended but his message to Ortiz was well said. Rather than focus on the candidates who didn’t get elected (including himself), the conversation should revolved around the player who is going to be inducted. Ortiz being elected as a first-ballot Hall of Famer is the story, not Schilling.
Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley also tweeted a message to congratulate Ortiz. Eck’s career ended long before Ortiz arrived but he remains close to the organization as a NESN analyst.
The praise for Ortiz wasn’t limited to former teammates or those with connections to the Red Sox. Even players who were once bitter rivals sent their congratulations to Ortiz. That includes Alex Rodriguez, who wore pinstripes during the peak of the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees. A-Rod posted a photo on Instagram to say congrats.
"“Congrats to my brother @davidortiz on your election to the Baseball Hall of Fame! A champion on and especially off the field,” Rodriguez wrote. “From the Dominican Republic to Cooperstown.. you are right where you’ve always belonged. #BigPapi #HOF ??”"
Despite any bad blood between the two franchises, Big Papi and A-Rod appear to have formed a friendship during their years as co-workers for FOX Sports.
Rodriguez joined Ortiz among the new additions to this year’s ballot but received only 34.3 percent of the vote. It’s a bit surprising that A-Rod received 21 more votes than Ramirez despite that he also failed multiple PED tests. Both players are no-doubt Hall of Famers based on their production so the only reason not to vote for them is based on their tainted legacies. Both players were caught and suspended after the strict testing policies were implemented, which separates them from many other PED offenders on the ballot. If they are both essentially in the same boat, why are more voters penalizing Ramirez?
Albert Pujols was in the National League for the majority of the years that his career overlapped with Ortiz. His St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series but aside from that, they rarely faced each other until Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. Pujols tweeted his congrats to Ortiz while praising his fellow Dominican for being a mentor.
The 42-year-old doesn’t appear ready to retire but the three-time MVP should be a lock for the Hall of Fame when he’s eventually eligible for the ballot.
Perhaps the most surprising source of praise came from the Minnesota Twins. Ortiz began his career in the Twins organization but they cut bait when he began to get more expensive heading into his second year of arbitration-eligibility. Little did they know that the young slugger who still had holes in his swing and had limited defensive value was on the verge of superstardom. It was a decision that will haunt the franchise forever but it was a classy move by the Twins to congratulate Ortiz on his Hall of Fame election.
Ortiz’s induction into the Hall of Fame will be celebrated by Red Sox Nation but it’s clear that his impact on the game reached beyond this organization. Big Papi is deserving of this first-ballot honor and the praise he is receiving along with it.