David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame chances have been a topic of debate long before the Boston Red Sox slugger announced the 2016 season would be his last, but Big Papi got an endorsement from one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday with former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza, but in his news conference Saturday, Griffey took a moment to talk about Ortiz. The two were part of the Seattle Mariners, who drafted Ortiz, briefly, but it was enough time for Griffey to get a good look at the future Red Sox star.
“I got a chance to see him young,” Griffey said, per ESPN.com. “He wasn’t Big Papi. He was ‘Thin Papi’ at that time. To watch him do the things he’s done over the years, he’s become one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. He’s the one guy where you say, ‘If we’re up by two, let’s just walk him and go for the next guy.’ He’s got a chance to put a team up by three real quick.
“He’s done an incredible job in that city. Do I think he’s a Hall of Famer? Absolutely. Just look at the numbers he’s put up: Three (World Series) titles, and the list of his accomplishments on the field goes on. You can’t take that away from him.”
The rest of that list of accomplishments includes 10 All-Star nods, six Silver Slugger awards, an American League Championship Series and World Series MVP and over 500 career home runs, to name a few. The numbers alone could make him a first-ballot selection, but the fact that he’s a designated hitter and was accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs in a 2009 New York Times report might hold him back.
Either way, an endorsement from The Kid certainly doesn’t hurt Ortiz’s chances.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jul 23, 2016; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Fame Inductee Ken Griffey Jr. answers questions during the press conference prior to the MLB baseball hall of fame parade of legends at National Baseball Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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