David Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first turn on the ballot.
Ortiz, a clutch slugger and 10-time All-Star over 20 seasons mostly with the Boston Red Sox, was named on 77.9% of ballots unveiled Tuesday night, clearing the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. He’s the fourth primary designated hitter voted into the Hall.
Big Papi was among baseball’s most recognizable faces through the 2000s and 2010s. His enormous grin endeared him to fans, but the Dominican’s hulking frame menaced pitchers, especially in the late innings. He had 23 game-ending hits, including three during the 2004 postseason while Boston ended an 86-year World Series drought.
Ortiz batted .286 with 541 home runs with Boston and Minnesota while making 88% of his plate appearances as a designated hitter, the most by anyone in the Hall.
He’s also the fourth player born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero.
Ortiz also has PED baggage, but enough voters chose to ignore a positive test that came during survey testing in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous. Ortiz has denied using steroids, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said in 2016 “I think it would be wrong” to exclude him from the Hall of Fame based on that lone test.
The three-time World Series winner has remained in public view in retirement as a studio analyst for Fox Sports’ postseason coverage. He was briefly sidelined in 2019 after being ambushed and shot in the Dominican Republic. His recovery required three surgeries, and doctors removed his gallbladder along with parts of his intestines and colon. He returned to the air during the postseason four months after the shooting.
Ortiz will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24 along with era committee selections Buck O’Neil, Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Bud Fowler.