David Ortiz, the slugging designated hitter/first baseman known as “Big Papi” who was a central force on Boston Red Sox teams that won three World Series, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on 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 the July 24 Induction Ceremony 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 Miñoso, Tony Oliva and Buck O’Neil.
Also being honored that weekend will be the 2022 Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting, the late Jack Graney, and the 2022 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner for writing, Tim Kurkjian.
Ortiz, a native of the Dominican Republic who at age 46 becomes the youngest current Hall of Famer, 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 Award winner led the AL in RBI three times, and his 1,192 extra-base hits are tied for 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 on 401 ballots cast (71.1). He had 54 fewer votes in this year’s election. It was his final year on the ballot as it also was for Bonds, Clemens and outfielder Sammy Sosa, who totaled 73 votes (18.5). Their cases will now be taken up by the BBWAA’s Historical Overview Committee, which drafts the ballot to be considered by the Today’s Game Era Committee, which is scheduled to meet 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 14 players from this year’s ballot who will be eligible again for 2023, including two of the 13 first-year candidates, infielder Álex Rodríguez with 135 votes (34.3) and shortstop 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.
David Ortiz 307 (77.9%), Barry Bonds 260 (66.0), Roger Clemens 257(65.2), Scott Rolen 249 (63.2), Curt Schilling 231 (58.6), Todd Helton 205 (52.0), Billy Wagner 201 (51.0), Andruw Jones 163 (41.4), Gary Sheffield 160 (40.6), Álex Rodríguez 135 (34.3), Jeff Kent 129 (32.7), Manny Ramírez 114 (28.9), Omar Vizquel 94 (23.9), Sammy Sosa 73 (18.5), Andy Pettitte 42 (10.7), Jimmy Rollins 37 (9.4), Bobby Abreu 34 (8.6), Mark Buerhle 23 (5.8), Torii Hunter 21 (5.3), Joe Nathan 17 (4.3), Tim Hudson 12 (3.0), Tim Lincecum 9 (2.3), Ryan Howard 8 (2.0), Mark Teixeira 6 (1.5), Justin Morneau 5 (1.3), Jonathan Papelbon 5 (1.3), Prince Fielder 2 (0.5), A.J. Pierzynski 2 (0.5), Carl Crawford 0, Jake Peavy 0.
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