David Ortiz’s focus is on continuing to produce at age 39 — not Cooperstown.
Ortiz wrote in a recent essay for Derek Jeter’s website, The Players’ Tribune, that he’s unsure whether performance-enhancing drug suspicions will prevent him from someday entering the Hall of Fame. The Boston Red Sox slugger isn’t worried about subject, though. He has bigger fish to fry.
“I’m going to be honest with you, it’s literally nothing. Like, I don’t think about it,” Ortiz recently told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford on “The Bradfo Show” podcast. “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’s Hall of Fame candidacy is interesting, as he’s been very productive throughout his 18-year career, particularly in the playoffs. Designated hitters have a hard time earning induction into Cooperstown, though, so Ortiz’s enshrinement is anything but a foregone conclusion.
“Well, the one thing with the designated hitter is that people think it’s easy to be a designated hitter, and those guys (Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Harold Baines) got famous because they kept on coming through with the big hits to help their ball clubs 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 mentioned or nothing.”
Ortiz showed last season he’s still capable of producing big numbers, so there’s still time for him to pad his resume and strengthen his Hall of Fame case before calling it quits. Just don’t expect Ortiz’s mind to stray too far from the task at hand, which is helping the Red Sox win ballgames.
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