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David Ortiz passes Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list — is he a Hall of Famer?

Jul 22, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

David Otiz Getty Images

David Ortiz hit two home runs against the Blue Jays last night. The first one tied him with Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list, the second one passed him. Ortiz hit 58 with the Twins, so he’s still behind him on the Red Sox list.

Overall, Ortiz now sits alone at 36th all-time with 453 bombs. Ahead of him in the near future: Adam Dunn, Jose Canseco, Dave Winfield and Chipper Jones at 454, 452, 465 and 468, respectively. Obviously Dunn is still active.

One of the more controversial subjects we bring up around here from time to time are David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame chances. I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I do think he is both Cooperstown bound and Cooperstown worthy.

I dug into the argument pretty deeply the morning after Game 6 of the World Series last fall, but the summary of it was:

  • On the numbers alone he is comfortably within the middle of the pack of already-enshrined Hall of Fame hitters;
  • While people discount his contributions because he’s a DH, it’s not like DH hasn’t been an established position for pushing half a century and it’s not like we don’t already induct hyper-specialists into the Hall of Fame (see, one-inning relief pitchers);
  • If we give extra credit for the playoffs — and we typically do — it’s worth noting that Oritz has a career World Series line of .455/.576/.795 with 14 RBI in 14 games; and
  • While some will cite his PED history, (a) it is the slightest of all PED histories imaginable given that it came during the 2003 trial testing period which came with no penalties and was supposed to have been anonymous; and (b) he tends to get a pass on this from many in the media who are not so forgiving to PED-implicated players.

Going against his chances are that, so far, the BBWAA voters have shown no inclination to vote in the guy who many feel was the best DH in baseball history in Edgar Martinez. But I bet the Boston + three World Series rings factor will end up giving Ortiz a lot of extra credit among those same voters. Almost all teams which win a World Series have at least one Hall of Famer. Teams which win three World Series ALL have Hall of Famers. Who would Boston’s be? If it ain’t Ortiz, I’d be curious to see who your candidate is.

Maybe I still haven’t convinced most of you. But as we debate this, Ortiz will continue to climb the career home run list.

  1. ahrmon - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Definitely not a HOF’er. Oh, he played for Boston? Definitely an HOF’er. Everyone on the Sox is definitely an HOF’er.

    • boogerhill - Jul 22, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      Like that stiff catcher that retired a couple of years ago!

  2. irishlad19 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    One of the strikes against Papi is that many players and baseball media-types think he is something of a jerk, petulant when things don’t go well, a Prima Dona, and immature.
    The public loves him, but the closer one gets the less lovable he is.

    • wiscotom - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      I hear Ty Cobb was a nice guy. His nice demeanor is what pushed him into the HoF.

      • irishlad19 - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        True, but his skill level was well beyond Papi’s, not a marginal HOF selection.

  3. theskinsman - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    It’s mildly amusing that none of the hysterical anti-Red Sox rabble mention how many of the players they argue about being better than Ortiz were considered so good opposing teams developed a shift putting almost the entire defense on one side of the field to stop them.

  4. ejannetta - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    LOL!…Hall of Famer?….The guy is a PED cheat and even if he wasn’t, he is a DH…..Ortiz can’t play the field and when he did play 1st base he was awful…..next they’ll be letting bat boys in the HOF.

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