David Ortiz isn’t done padding his résumé, yet the Hall of Fame debate surrounding the Boston Red Sox slugger already has picked up steam.
Ortiz’s credentials are impressive, and his third World Series title last October might have put the nine-time All-Star over the top. Even so, Cooperstown remains the farthest thing from Big Papi’s mind.
“I’m going to be honest with you, it’s literally nothing,” Ortiz told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford this week on “The Bradfo Show” podcast. “Like, I don’t think about it. I haven’t sat down and acknowledged my numbers to go to the Hall of Fame or anything like that. I just keep on trying to have fun and try to keep on winning. I know this career is not forever, but I’m just trying to keep on having fun and keep people smiling and try to put on a good show, because at the end of the day, the time to worry about the Hall of Fame, it’s going to come.
“I’m going to have plenty of time to think about it and say whatever I want to say or think whatever I want to think about it, but to be honest with you, I only think about the Hall of Fame when you guys talk to me about it.”
Ortiz has been one of Major League Baseball’s most feared sluggers for more than a decade. His success has come in a big baseball market and he’s considered one of the game’s most recognizable ambassadors. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Ortiz’s eventual enshrinement, however, is that he is a designated hitter — albeit perhaps the best ever — and there’s no precedent for inducting such players aside from Frank Thomas. Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines haven’t garnered much support in recent years.
“Well, the one thing with the designated hitter is that people think it’s easy to be a designated hitter, and those guys got famous because they kept on coming through with the big hits to help their ballclubs to win games,” Ortiz said. “You don’t begin to be famous as a designated hitter when people don’t even see you out there playing defense. … It’s hard, man. If you don’t hit, if you don’t produce as a hitter, your name doesn’t get to mentioned or nothing.”
Ortiz is a legitimate superstar who frequently excels under the brightest lights. His teammates even called him “Cooperstown” last season amid his dominant postseason. Not everyone is aboard the Ortiz Hall of Fame train, though, and that’s perfectly OK.
Ortiz is too busy chasing ring No. 4.