David Ortiz has already made baseball immortal in Boston, and now the Hall of Fame is official

In front of an estimated crowd of 35,000 gathered on the grass and hills of baseball’s cradle, 46-year-old Ortiz was honored alongside 83-year-old Jim Cat, 84-year-old Tony Oliva and four baseball legends who have already passed: Jill Hodges, and Buck O’Neill, Minnie Minoso, and Bud Fowler (who actually grew up in Cooperstown). Alex Vida, Big Papy’s 21-year-old daughter, performed the national anthem before the induction programme.

Dressed in a blue suit and red tie, Ortiz became the fourth player to be born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marechal, Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero Sr., all of whom sat behind Pappe on stage at Clark Sports Center. Dominican flags dotted the fan seating areas.

Kind Ortiz thanked God, Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame players, his family, USA, minor league directors, the Minnesota Twins, and the many people who helped him in his Red Sox years, citing coaches Grady Little, Terry Francona and John Farrell.

“I can’t thank you enough for building myself up and supporting me over the years,” Ortiz said. ‘Which – which [Red Sox] The organization made me the man I am today.”

Ted Williams and Karl Jastrzymski are inducted into the Red Sox in their first year of hall eligibility, but Ortiz stands alone as the first inducted into the Hall of Fame winners three Starring with the Red Sox. He is one of only four top players in the league to have at least 500 teammates and to win at least three world championships (the others are Yankees Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson).

There was a strong Boston flavor throughout induction weekend as Red Sox Nation planted the flag and many of Ortiz’s former teammates (Johnny Damon, Dustin Pedroya, Mike Lowell, Trout Nixon, Tim Wakefield, Kevin Yukilis, Kevin Millar, and Jason Varitek, to name a few. a few), made a trip to Cooperstown.

“I don’t think I would have done it without their support and love,” Ortiz said, and referred to Pedro, Pedroya, and Varytic as team members he particularly enjoyed.

One can’t help but notice that Ortiz’s tribute came on the same date (July 24) as the home flick Varitek-Alex Rodriguez in 2004.

This was the year everything changed for the Boston Red Sox. After 86 years of frustration and multiple close calls, Ortiz was the man most responsible for the archetypal Boston, coming from behind, ALCS against the Yankees.

It all started with Sox down, three games to zero, trying to survive the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 4 at Fenway.

Ortiz’s blast hours later at Yankee Stadium at 1:22 a.m. led the Red Sox to a 6-4 win in Game 4, and Fox’s Joe Buck told Baseball America, “We’ll see you later today.”

Exactly 15 hours and 49 minutes later, Pedro threw the first pitch for the fifth game, which lasted five hours and 14 minutes over 14 innings, and Ortiz (who had previously played earlier in the game) won by six pitches before leaving the match. Winning alone against Esteban Luisa.

two games. . . Both expire on the same day (October 18). . . It takes 26 rounds over a period of ten hours and 51 minutes. . . Both were won by David Ortiz.

Sox went to New York and took two more, then swept the Cardinals at the World Championships. Boston’s Señor Octubre had 19 RBIs in 14 games after the season and was suddenly rivaling Tom Brady as Boston’s most popular athlete of the 21st century.

Ortiz went on to win two more tournaments, saving Sox with his eighth Grand Slam turn in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS against the Tigers (remember the Bullpen cop raising his hands while Torii Hunter was flailing over the tea?).688 at an incredible Fall Classic against the Cardinals.

It was the same year Ortiz reincarnated the Boston Strong, telling the world, “This is ours [expletive] the city and no one will dictate our freedom.”

Brady, Ted Williams, Larry Bird, and Bobby Orr are four athletes who have owned our town most of the time they have played. Bill Russell played his entire career in Boston and was the greatest winner in the history of professional sports. All five Hub Champions started their careers in New England and enjoyed most of their success here.

Big Papi is different. First signed by the Seattle Mariners, he played parts of six major league seasons with the Twins before wearing the Boston uniform. He was released by the twins at age 27 after hitting .272 with 20 wrecking and 75 RBI in 2002. This would always be a head-scratcher, but along with Randy Moss and Kevin Garnett, Ortiz became one of the Minnesota team’s greatest gifts to Boston .

After his release, Ortiz bumped into Pedro Martinez while eating at a restaurant in the Dominican Republic. Seizing the opportunity to take care of his fellow countryman and help the Sox, Pedro called Boston’s travel secretary Jack McCormick (the man Manny Ramirez later ousted when McCormick couldn’t meet Mane’s request for a ticket) and McCormick called on Boston’s rookie 28-general, Theo Epstein.

“We had David on our radar,” Epstein recalled this weekend. “But during the holidays, Pedro met David and started calling everyone over and over. He made Jack Mac track me. He tracked Larry [Lucchino]. He’s blown everyone away, over and over again, telling us what a great hitter David is, and how great he would be at our club.”

Lucchino recalls: “This was unusual. I never remember getting a call from a player on behalf of another player. It was very powerful things.”

in january. On September 22, 2003, the Red Sox signed Ortiz to a one-year contract for $1.25 million. It wasn’t front page news in the Boston Globe. Not even page 1 of the sport. Upon announcing the signing, Globe reporter Gordon Eddis wrote a short news story in which he berated Sox for not being such a big spender (sound familiar?).

On . . . the cash-strapped Florida Marlins jumped for a $10 million one-year deal for All-Star catcher Evan Rodriguez, the Red Sox completed a winter shopping spree at Walmart yesterday, announcing the signing of a free agent first man Base, David Ortiz”.

There was a lot of competition for a place on the Sox lineup in 2003. In addition to Ortiz, Epstein acquired Millar, Bill Mueller, Todd Walker, and Jeremy Giambi. Meanwhile, Shea Hillenbrand was still a novice.

Ortiz played behind Giambi at the start of the season, sitting on the bench next to Doug Mirabelli, and made just 31 of his first 54 games. He had two teammates at the end of May and his teammates were calling him, “Juan Pierre” (the footballer who hit 18 wreckers in 14 major league seasons). Ortiz complained to Epstein, who asked him to be patient. Epstein then traded Hillenbrand, freeing up a place in the lineup. Ortiz ended up hitting 288 in 128 games with 31 Homer and 101 RBI.

One year later, he became Big Babi and broke the Bambino curse. Sox CEO Sam Kennedy described Ortiz as “the most important player in Red Sox history.”

Epstein recalls, “When you do the things David does, you become a superhero. He was so authentic and the unfiltered way he brought out the best in everyone. He really connected with the city.”

“When I think of Boston, I definitely think of 2004, 2007 and of course 2013, when our city was rocked by the bombing of a marathon,” Ortiz said during his speech. “I’ve never seen a community recover and come together like Boston.

“When I think of Boston, I also think of the last game I played [in 2016]. Standing in this field in Fenway Park, it felt like the whole city of New England and every one of you was surrounding me and was showing me all your love.”

Big daddy.

Santa Claus Boston baseball.

Hall of Fame.

Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.

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