BOSTON — “Big Papi” is on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame — and he won’t need to get the ball out of the stadium this time around to get there.
The Boston Red Sox power hitter is expected to arrive in Cooperstown this summer, thanks to his many accomplishments both on and off the field. These should also allow him to get rid of the stigmata that have overwhelmed the candidacies of several of his predecessors.
In particular, Ortiz seems to have overcome the bad press about prime hitters, following the induction of players such as Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines. And the Dominican’s only positive performance drug test – believed to have been nebulously revealed in an anonymous 2003 poll – appears to affect his candidacy less than those of players with much murkier pasts such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex. Rodríguez.
As of Friday, Ortiz was on 84% of the votes listed by the website bbhottracker.com, which is administered by former Oakland Athletics fan Ryan Thibodeaux and his many statisticians. A candidate must obtain 75% of the votes to be inducted; these rates usually drop during the final counting of the votes.
Clemens and Bonds, whose exploits have been clouded by performance drugs, had barely more than the necessary threshold of votes in their 10th and final appearance on the ballots.
The Temple will release the results of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot on Tuesday, and those selected will join the 2022 crop that already includes Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neill.
Ortiz, who has appeared in 10 career All-Star Games, is batting .286 with 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs. He began his major league career with the Minnesota Twins, before being released to avoid a major referee pay raise. After settling in Boston, he finished each of the next five seasons in the top 5 finalists for the American League Most Valuable Player award. He finished sixth in that category in his final season in 2016, batting .315 with 38 homers and 127 RBIs – despite it being one of the best seasons in the league. major league history for a player heading into retirement.