Big Papi comes to Cooperstown
The 46-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, Ortiz became the 58th player elected to the Hall of Fame on his first Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. The Hall of Fame Class of 2022 – which included six electees from a pair of Era Committees – will be inducted on Sunday, July 24, in Cooperstown.
Ortiz received 307 of the 394 votes cast for a percentage of 77.9 in results announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Candidates must appear on at least 75 percent of all ballots cast to earn election.
The Hall of Fame revealed the final member of its Class of 2022 live on MLB Network, with Hall President Josh Rawitch announcing the results to a nationwide audience.
“Our final member of the 2022 class is a feared slugger who performed his best on the biggest stage, winning three World Championships,” Rawitch said. “Today, David Ortiz becomes the fourth Dominican-born member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“David, welcome to Cooperstown.”
Only a few hours after Ortiz received the much-anticipated phone call informing him that he had joined baseball immortals, the Hall of Fame’s newest electee took part in a Zoom media conference call.
“First of all, I really want to thank the baseball writers for giving me the opportunity to be part of this elite group of players. The Hall of Fame is something that I really never dreamed of it,” Ortiz said. “I was the type of player that I knew I (had) the talent, but all I was looking for was the opportunity to be able to be an everyday player. God, at some point, he came through once I got to the Red Sox and the rest is history.
“I feel so thankful and grateful for being able to accomplish what I was able to accomplish and have the career that I had. I always blame it on the fans. The fans got the best out of me. The Red Sox fans, I want to thank all of them very much.”
This year’s BBWAA ballot featured 30 players, including 13 first-year candidates. Of the 394 ballots cast, 296 votes were needed for the 75 percent threshold necessary for election. With the addition of Ortiz, the total number of Hall of Fame electees increased to 340.
“My day was kind of smooth until like noon,” Ortiz said with a laugh. “You know when you go to the gym for first time, then you jump on the bicycle and you want to go for 30 minutes but after the first two minutes you feel like they were the longest. That's exactly how my day felt this afternoon. But I was with my kids and family and basically they make everything go smooth. At some point we were just receiving the news.
“I thought just getting into the Hall of Fame no matter what was important. I know so many great players that didn’t get in on the first ballot, but down the road they did. They find it a fun way to get in. I learned not so long ago how difficult it is to get in on the first ballot. It's a wonderful honor to be able to get in. It’s something that is very special to me. I can't imagine how New England is feeling about one of its babies getting into the Hall of Fame today.”
Ortiz played in the majors for 20 seasons (1997-2016), spending his first six seasons with the Twins before signing a free agent deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2003 campaign.