Ortiz enjoying ride to Cooperstown

Part of the HOFVISITS series
Written by: Craig Muder

In 10 days, David Ortiz will stand on the Induction Stage in Cooperstown and sum up his Hall of Fame career for millions of fans around the world.

The importance of the moment will not be lost on a man who made a career of rising to the occasion.

“At that podium, I won’t have too long to describe the many things I can say about the Dominican Republic and the United States,” Ortiz told media in his final availability before the July 22-25 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. “I’m going to try to be short and quick to the point. But whatever I say, it’s going to be from the bottom of my heart.”

Ortiz, elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in January, will be enshrined on Sunday, July 25, along with Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva and Buck O’Neil as a member of the Class of 2022. The Induction Ceremony will be televised live by MLB Network.

Over 20 seasons with the Twins and Red Sox, Ortiz hit 541 home runs and was part of three World Series title teams with Boston, becoming one of the most respected designated hitters in the game’s history.

A 10-time All-Star, Ortiz finished in the Top 6 of the American League Most Valuable Player voting six times. In the postseason, Ortiz hit .289 with 17 homers in 85 games, winning ALCS MVP honors in 2004 and the World Series MVP Award in 2013.

But those exploits don’t mean Ortiz is immune to pressure.

“(Hall of Fame election) is a one-in-a-lifetime type of thing,” Ortiz said. “There’s so much stress that comes along with it. It’s a lot of work. But I’m excited to be part of it.”

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many things you’ve got going on. You’re excited because it’s an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Ortiz will become the fourth Dominican Republic native – and the second position player – inducted into the Hall of Fame, following Juan Marichal (1983), Pedro Martínez (2015) and Vladimir Guerrero (2018). When he looks out on the crowd at the Induction Ceremony, Ortiz is likely to see the colors of the Dominican flag everywhere – along with the red and white of the Red Sox.

“There’s so many good people (in the Dominican Republic) who deserve respect and deserve love because they know how to embrace people,” Ortiz said. “And when it comes to the U.S., I can’t thank that country enough. I have been trying to be a good citizen (Ortiz became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago while maintaining his Dominican citizenship). That’s the one country that gave me the opportunity to live right. I’m always going to appreciate it.”

For now, Ortiz is appreciating his moment in the sun in Cooperstown.

“(The Hall of Fame) is an elite group of players that’s not easy to be part of,” Ortiz said. “I know that next year, I won’t be driving myself crazy like I am right now. But when you’re hot, you’re hot. You’ve got to enjoy the ride.”

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
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Part of the HOFVISITS series