David Ortiz, who during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox was a prolific designated hitter, a 10-time All-Star and who had a .286 lifetime batting average with 541 home runs (17th all-time), 632 doubles (12th all-time), and 1,768 RBIs (23rd all-time), was elected yesterday on the first ballot to the the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Some context from MLB.com:
"Ortiz truly cemented his place in Red Sox and baseball lore with his performance in the postseason. He was instrumental in Boston breaking the so-called 'Curse of the Bambino' in 2004, and he also helped power the Red Sox to titles in 2007 and 2013. In 85 career postseason games, Ortiz slashed .289/.404/.543 with 22 doubles, two triples, 17 homers, 61 RBIs and 51 runs. In perhaps the most consequential playoff series in franchise history – the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees – he went 12-for-31 (.387) with three homers and 11 RBIs in seven games, with the walk-off RBIs in Games 4 and 5.
"Nearly a decade later, his inspiring speech and play in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the club’s subsequent title run was testament to his importance to both team and town."
When Ortiz mounts the stage at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, NY, this summer, he will join six selections of the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era committees -- Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva and the late Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso and Buck O’Neil.
Ortiz - or, as he is better known, "Big Papi" - was the sole selection in the annual balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, being named on 77.9 percent of ballots; there is a 75 percent threshold for entry to the Hall of Fame.
Not elected in their final year of eligibility in the Baseball Writers’ balloting were Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, as "voters decided for a 10th time that they would not overlook the superstars’ connection to performance-enhancing drugs," the Wall Street Journal writes. "Their failure to win enshrinement to Cooperstown serves as a powerful rebuke of the faces of the sport’s Steroid Era."
The Journal notes that "in 2009, the New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of 103 players to have tested positive for PEDs in survey testing conducted in 2003 that was supposed to have remained anonymous. Ortiz never tested positive again once Major League Baseball began penalizing players for PEDs in 2005, and commissioner Rob Manfred has publicly questioned the scientific validity of the 2003 positive. Voters ultimately determined Ortiz’s alleged transgression wasn’t enough to deny him in the wake of his 541 homers and legendary World Series heroics."