David Ortiz could have a tough time getting in the Baseball Hall of Fame after playing most of his career as a designated hitter. On Sunday, August 30, he improved his case, passing both Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff on the all-time home run list. A report from CBS Sports reveals that Ortiz hit a two-run homer against the New York Mets in the top of the sixth inning.
This was his 494th career home run, breaking a tie he had with McGriff and Gehrig coming into the day. He is only the 27th player in MLB history to reach that number, with Eddie Murray (504) the next one up on the list. That’s rare territory as well, and Ortiz would certainly like to get into the club of hitters that have connected on at least 500 home runs. Most of them are already in the Hall of Fame.
The case for David Ortiz getting into the Hall of Fame is a tricky one. He has played 1,861 games as a DH and just 276 games as a first baseman. That’s fewer games in the field than Edgar Martinez had during his time with the Seattle Mariners. Martinez has struggled to find support from the voters, and during his career he had a better batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS than Ortiz does now. It’s hard to make a case that Ortiz should get into Cooperstown before Martinez does.
During his 19-year career, Ortiz has 2,274 hits, 1,324 runs scored, 1,612 RBIs, and 494 home runs. He also has a .284 batting average and .923 OPS to go along with it. Then there are the three World Series titles that he helped the Boston Red Sox win with numerous postseason highlights. Most Red Sox fans feel he should get elected to Cooperstown on the first ballot. But do his overall numbers really stand up against the all-time greats? Or is it his postseason heroics that many baseball fans focus upon?
When Ortiz finally does decide to retire from baseball, there is going to be a lot of debate about his entry. Rumors of a failed drug test might come up, along with most of his numbers coming during the “steroid” era of baseball. Are his raw numbers good enough to be in a group of players that includes Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams already? And should David Ortiz even be considered for the Hall of Fame before Edgar Martinez or Fred McGriff gets in?
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