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David Ortiz Leads Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee After Brilliant Career

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Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, speaks during the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Sunday, July 24, 2022, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.
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David Ortiz was among the baseball legends who were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Gil Hodges, Minnie Mignoso, Buck O’Neill and Bud Fowler joined the former Boston Red Sox greats in Cooperstown.

Ortiz was a 10-time Red Sox All-Star from 2003 to 2016. He was an integral part of helping Boston break the “Curse of the Bambino” and win their first World Series title in 2004, the organization’s first title since 1918. Boston also won it in 2007 and 2013. Ortiz was the 2013 World Series MVP.

Ortiz originally started out as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He played with the Twins for six years but was fired after the 2002 season. Boston signed him in January 2003, and his career there changed significantly.

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Hall of Famer David Ortiz, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, speaks at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, July 24, 2022 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York.
(AP Photo/John Mincillo)

After it was revealed that the Twins had expelled him, Ortiz spent another 14 years in Boston. He finished his career with 541 home runs, a .286 batting average and a .931 OPS. He would become one of the most formidable hitters in baseball, whether in the regular season or the playoffs.

“If my story can remind you of anything, let it remind you that if you believe in someone, you can change their world,” he said at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “You can change their future, as can many people who believed in me.”

Ortiz also became an important figure in Boston outside of the World Series championships. His Fenway Park speech after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings helped rebuild the city. He also touched on this point in his speech.

“We have incredible memories. When I think of Boston, I definitely think of 2004, 2007 and of course 2013 when the city was rocked by marathon bombing. I’ve never seen a community rebuild and reunite like Boston did.” he said.

Baseball Hall of Fame member David Ortiz speaks to reporters during a press conference following his Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Study Tour on Monday, May 2, 2022, in Cooperstown, New York.  The former Boston Red Sox player was inducted on July 24.

Baseball Hall of Fame member David Ortiz speaks to reporters during a press conference following his Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Study Tour on Monday, May 2, 2022, in Cooperstown, New York. The former Boston Red Sox player was inducted on July 24.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

“When I think about Boston, I also think about the last game I played standing on the field at Fenway Park. It seemed to me that the whole city of New England and each of you surrounded me and showed me everything. your love. I will always be Boston and I will always be by your side, Boston. I love you Boston.”

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Ortiz’s appearance in Cooperstown also came two years after he became a decoy for an assassination attempt in the Dominican Republic. During subsequent operations, his gallbladder, parts of his intestines and large intestine were removed.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 77.9% of the vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Oliva, Kaat, Hodges, Mignoso, O’Neill, and Fowler were among those voted through the veterans’ committee.

Oliva was a three-time baseball champion and an eight-time All-Star with the Twins from 1962 to 1976. He won the American League Rookie of the Year in 1964, his first full season with Minnesota.

Kaat was a three-time All-Star and a 16-time Golden Glove winner. During his 25-year career, he made 15 appearances for the Twins. He won the 1982 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hodges was the star of the Brooklyn Dodgers and led the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969.

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Mignoso was the first black player in Chicago White Sox history and the first African-Latino in major tournaments. He played 12 years for the White Sox from 1951 to 1957, 1960-61, 1964, 1976 and 1980. He was one of the first batters over 50 to get a hit. After 50 years, he was 1 out of 10.

From left to right, National Baseball Hall of Fame members Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and David Ortiz hold their plaques during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, July 24, 2022 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York.

From left to right, National Baseball Hall of Fame members Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and David Ortiz hold their plaques during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, July 24, 2022 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York.
(AP Photo/John Mincillo)

O’Neal was the star of the Kansas City Monarchs’ Negro League. He became a top advocate for the Negro Leagues after the integration of baseball and helped establish the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Fowler was one of the first known African Americans to play baseball. He grew up in Cooperstown and played baseball in over a dozen leagues. He also helped form the Page Fence Giants in Michigan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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