Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz is officially in the Hall of Fame
“Powerhouse left-handed slugger who was at his best in the clutch.” The first line of David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame plaque perfectly captures who he was as one of the most feared hitters of his generation but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of describing what he has meant to the Boston Red Sox.
We knew from his emotional appearance at Fenway Park in the wake of the 2013 marathon bombing that Ortiz was capable of making an epic speech and he delivered once again during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Big Papi became a legend in Boston for his clutch performances and his ability to shine brightest on the postseason stage. The Red Sox were fortunate to have a hitter of his caliber anchor their lineup for 14 years but Ortiz expressed his gratitude toward the organization for giving him the opportunity to thrive.
The Red Sox scooped up Ortiz after he was released by the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2003 season. As frustrating as it was to have been given up on by the team that he broke into the big leagues with, his exit from Minnesota opened the door to a new path that led to a breakout campaign.
During his Hall of Fame speech, Ortiz thanked the Red Sox for building him up and supporting him throughout the years. He joined the organization at a low point in his career and retired after establishing himself as one of the greatest hitters in franchise history.
"“That organization made me the man I am today,” Ortiz said while addressing the crowd in Cooperstown."
There’s a long list of people who made an impact on Ortiz throughout his career and he showed his appreciation by giving many of them a shout out in his speech. Ortiz thanked the Red Sox ownership group for giving him the opportunity to come to Boston. Pedro Martinez for convincing the team to take a chance on him. His “main man” Sam Kennedy. Terry Francona and John Farrell, the managers who led the Red Sox during his three championship seasons.
As talented as he is, Ortiz could not have achieved everything that he accomplished in his storied career without those who believed in him. His journey from castoff to Hall of Famer is a powerful tale that serves as a reminder of what people can accomplish with the proper support.
"“When you believe in someone, you can change their world, you can change their future,” said Ortiz."
The Red Sox believed in Ortiz and he rewarded their faith in him by emerging into one of the all-time greats. The 10-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger finished in the top-five on the AL MVP ballot in each of his first five seasons with the Red Sox and he earned the World Series MVP award in 2013.
Ortiz is one of four players in major league history to win at least three World Series titles and hit 500+ home runs in his career. He ranks 17th in major league history with 541 home runs and he’s one of only 11 players to record at least 10 seasons with 30+ homers and 100+ RBI.
Ortiz was the centerpiece of three World Series championships with the Red Sox, the first of which ended an 86-year title drought. His impact helped change the perception of this organization, transforming the long-suffering franchise into one of the most successful teams of the last two decades.
There are a few others who might have posted slightly more impressive career numbers but Big Papi is arguably the most important figure in franchise history. His legacy is built upon creating a winning culture for a franchise that had forgotten what it felt like to celebrate a championship.
David Ortiz thanked the Red Sox for believing in him. Red Sox Nation can thank David Ortiz for giving them a reason to believe in this team.