David Ortiz, the slugging designated hitter-first baseman known as “Big Papi” and who was a central force on Boston Red Sox teams that won three World Series, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and verified by Ernst & Young.
Players are elected to the Hall provided they are named on 75 percent of ballots cast by eligible voting members of the BBWAA. With 394 ballots submitted in the 2022 election, including six blanks, candidates needed to total 296 votes to be elected.
Ortiz was the only one of the 30 candidates to reach that threshold with 307 votes, which accounted for 77.9 percent of the electorate. He will be honored during Induction Weekend July 22-25 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with six former players elected in December by two Eras Committees — Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva and Buck O’Neil.
Also being honored that weekend will be the Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting, the late Jack Graney, and the BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner for writing, Tim Kurkjian.
Ortiz, 46, a native of the Dominican Republic, was traded by the Seattle Mariners and released by the Minnesota Twins before embarking on an extraordinary career in Boston where he played on championship teams in 2004, ’07 and ’13. Ortiz hit .455 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 14 World Series games and was the MVP in 2013 when he batted.688 with two homers and six RBI in 16 at-bats.
An eight-time winner of the Edgar Martinez Award as the outstanding designated hitter, Ortiz bashed 541 home runs among his 2,472 hits over 20 seasons. The 10-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger winner led the AL in RBI three times, and his 1,192 extra-base hits rank eighth all-time. Ortiz had one of the greatest final seasons of any player when in 2016 at age 40 he batted. 315 with 38 home runs and league-high figures in doubles (48), RBI (127), slugging percentage (.620) and OPS (1.021).
The only players other than Ortiz to be named on more than half the ballots were outfielder Barry Bonds with 260 votes (66 percent), pitcher Roger Clemens with 257 (65.2), third baseman Scott Rolen with 249 (63.2), pitcher Curt Schilling with 231 (58.6), first baseman Todd Helton with 205 (52.0) and relief pitcher Billy Wagner with 201 (51.0).
Schilling had been the highest vote getter in the 2021 election when no player achieved the 75-percent plurality with 285 votes out of 401 cast (71.1). He had 54 fewer votes in this year’s election. It was his final season on the ballot as it also was for Bonds, Clemens and outfielder Sammy Sosa, who totaled 73 votes (18.5). Their cases will now revert to the Historical Overview Committee for consideration on the Today’s Game Era Committee, which will convene in December at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Candidates may remain on the BBWAA ballot for up to 10 years provided they are listed on at least five percent of ballots cast. There are 13 players from this year’s ballot who will be eligible again for 2023, including two of the 13 first-year candidates, infielders Alex Rodriguez with 135 votes (34.3) and Jimmy Rollins with 37 (9.4).
The Hall of Fame has 340 elected members, including 268 players, of whom 135 have come through the BBWAA ballot. The average ballot in the 2022 election contained 7.11 names, up from 5.87 last year, with 33.8 percent of the voters using all 10 slots, up from 14.5 percent a year ago. The total of ballots cast marked a 97.3-percent return rate of the 405 ballots mailed to voters.
2022 Hall of Fame
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