Monday, May 23, 2022

Former twin David Ortiz elected to Hall of Fame; Torii Hunter remains on the ballot

When Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this July, they will do so alongside another former Gemini, though not at his full potential until he left Minnesota.

Red Sox great David Ortiz was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, becoming the only person to be voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America this year. Ortiz received the vote on 77.9 percent of the ballot and will be inducted in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, along with six others, including Kaat and Oliva, who were elected through the Golden Days and Early Days committees.

Ortiz, who originally signed with the Seattle Mariners as a teenager from the Dominican Republic, was traded to the Twins in 1996 as a player to be named in a deal that sent Dave Hollins to Seattle earlier that year. .

He made his debut the following season. In six seasons with the Twins, the batter hit .266 with an .809 OPS. During his tenure, he hit 58 home runs, including 20 in 2002, but was released after that season, which former general manager Terry Ryan repeatedly publicly called a mistake on his behalf.

Ortiz said during a video call on Tuesday that the Twins let him go “because of his paycheck” and not because of his lack of talent, which he says makes people “everyone perverted.”

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“Last year in Minnesota, I hit 20 homers without even playing. I have 75 RBIs. I kept telling people, “What do you think was going to happen when someone just let me come out and hit?” – Come on, baby. Play. Show me what you’ve got,” Ortiz told MLB Network. “I didn’t have the opportunity when I was in Minnesota for many reasons. I will always be grateful to the Minnesota Twins because the one thing I’ve learned from this organization is that the opportunity doesn’t come every day. Once you get it, hold on to it, because once you’re gone, it will probably never come back to you.”

During his time in Minnesota, Ortiz befriended Gemini legend and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, who he says was “the guy who basically inspired me in a lot of ways” when he was with the Gemini.

“Kirby was a friend. He was a father. He was a brother,” Ortiz said. “In fact, he’s the only reason I started wearing number 34 as soon as I got to Boston.”

In Boston, he became a star, playing 10 All-Star games, winning seven Silver Slugger Awards, and finishing in the top 10 MVP seven times. He finished second in MVP voting in 2005, the year he hit 47 home runs and led the league with 148 runs. The very next year, he hit a career-high 54 home runs.

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Ortiz finished his career as a hitter at .286, hitting .931 per second and 541 home runs. He won three World Series rings with the Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013) and was named the World Series MVP in 2013.

This time Ortiz will not be joined by players of his generation.

In their last year of eligibility, both Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens missed the required 75 percent. Alex Rodriguez, co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, won 34.3 percent of the vote in his first year of voting.

Torii Hunter, in his second year on the ballot, received 5.3 percent of the vote and will remain on the ballot next year. This is less than the 9.5 percent he received last year.

Former twins Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau earned 4.3 and 1.3 percent, respectively, in their first year. AJ Pierzynski received 0.5 percent. All three will fall off the ballot after not getting the required 5 percent to stay on the ballot.

Nation World News Desk
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