MLB

David Ortiz voted into Baseball Hall of Fame, becomes 5th first-ballot Red Sox player in franchise history

"What a sweet and beautiful journey it has been."

Jim Davis
David Ortiz acknowledges the cheers of the Fenway Park crowd at his final game in October 2016. Jim Davis / The Boston Globe

Red Sox legend David Ortiz, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday in his first appearance on the ballot.

The Red Sox tweeted a video of Ortiz’s reaction when he found out, with Pedro Martinez in the background.

“I am truly honored and blessed by my selection to the Hall of Fame — the highest honor that any baseball player can reach in their lifetime,” Ortiz wrote in a statement. “I am grateful to the baseball writers who considered my career in its totality, not just on the statistics, but also on my contributions to the Red Sox, the City of Boston, and all of Red Sox Nation.”

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Ortiz added a shout-out to Martinez, who “convinced the Red Sox to give me a chance to achieve success.”

“We broke the curse and then got two more championships before I retired in 2016,” Ortiz wrote. “What a sweet and beautiful journey it has been.”

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds once again fell short in their 10th and final year on the writer’s ballot.

Ortiz is now the fifth Red Sox player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

There was some expectation Ortiz would make the Hall of Fame — prior to Tuesday, he was included on 83.9 percent of all publicly known ballots, comfortably above the 75 percent required to be enshrined. Still, as Chad Finn pointed out on Monday, “the unrevealed ballots often tend to tilt conservative, quirky, or downright inexplicable. There’s a reason many voters choose the anonymous route. Their choices don’t hold up to scrutiny.”

In December, Ortiz told reporters he wasn’t losing sleep over his Hall of Fame candidacy.

“There’s things in life you have no control over,” Ortiz said. “The only thing I have control over was the baseball bat when my turn shows up, you know what I’m saying? I think I did okay, and hopefully at some point it happens.”

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Ortiz batted .286/.380/.552 for his career. He spent the first six years of his career with the Twins before finding a home with the Red Sox, where he made all 10 of his All-Star teams. He retired in 2016 after leading the league in doubles, slugging and OPS.

Ortiz made a name for himself as the catalyst behind the 2004 Red Sox, who broke the franchise’s 86-year championship drought by rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees and sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series.

Off the field, Ortiz cemented his status as a legend in Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing. His infamous Fenway Park speech was punctuated with the phrase, “This is our f—ing city” — an expletive so appropriate, even the FCC approved it.

Ortiz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown officially on July 22.

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