COOPERSTOWN, New York – When Edgar Martinez was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018-19, he became Cooperstown’s most-games-played immortal as a designated hitter with a gold plaque in the small town upstate of New York.
The Puerto Rican legend of the Mariners played 1,403 of his 2,055 major league games as designated, for 68.27%. The immortals who follow Martinez in that sense are Harold Baines (58.06%), Frank Thomas (56.42%) and Paul Molitor (43.76%).
In 2021-22, David Ortiz will appear for the first time on the ballot of the Baseball Writers Association of North America (BBWAA), after his retirement in 2016. The Dominican is the all-time leader in Major League history from the designated spot in hits (2,191), home runs (485) and RBIs (1,569), playing 2,027 of his total of 2,408 games in the majors in that role, for 88.17% – by far the highest percentage in annals. of MLB.
So, it is to be expected that Ortiz will be elected, sooner or later, to the Hall of Fame, right?
Everything seems to indicate yes. The precedent was Martinez, who was elected on his tenth and last chance on the BBWAA ballot in January 2019. If Martinez, with more than two-thirds of his MLB games as a designated, was elected to the Hall, Ortiz would appear to be a pretty safe choice.
In total, Ortiz hit 541 home runs in the majors, with 632 doubles, 1,768 RBIs, .286 / .380 / .552 overall (.931 OPS) and 141 OPS + in a 20-year career. It’s only a matter of time before you have your badge in Cooperstown.
OTHER LATINOS DESTINED TO COOPERSTOWN?
There is a group of Latin Americans whose cases have been complicated in recent years.
The Dominican Sammy Sosa will be in his last year on the ballot in December 2021, having received a maximum of just 17% of the 75% of the votes needed in his first nine opportunities, due to suspicions of substance use to increase the performance and a corked bat that was found in 2003. His compatriot Manny Ramírez faces a similar situation, with a maximum of 28.2% in his first five chances on the ballot following two positive tests for prohibited substances.
For his part, former torpedo Omar Vizquel reached 52.6% in 2020, but dropped to 49.1% this year. The off-field complications that have come to light in recent times could be a major obstacle in the six opportunities that remain for the Venezuelan.
For the 2021-22 period, he will debut on the ballot alongside Ortiz Alex Rodríguez, whose numbers are overwhelming: A total of 696 home runs, 3,115 hits and a .930 OPS in 22 seasons in the majors. But due to his avowed use of performance-enhancing substances, plus the Biogenesis lab scandal, it is unknown how much support he will receive.
After Big Papi and A-Rod, Carlos Beltrán will debut on the ballot in the 2022-23 period. The Puerto Rican’s numbers would warrant him a choice at his first opportunity: 435 homers, 1,587 RBIs, an .837 OPS and a brilliant defense in center field, for a cumulative 70.1 WAR (Baseball-Reference version). However, it remains to be seen how voters respond to the revelation of Beltran’s role in the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal, his last major league season.
Another striking case for 2022-23 will be reliever Francisco Rodríguez. The Venezuelan right-hander is fourth in Major League Baseball history with a total of 437, in addition to owning the most for a season, 62 in 2008. If Panamanian Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter are worthy of the Hall — and indeed, they have their plates in Cooperstown — the arguments of the “Kid” will have to be seriously weighed.
Finally, for 2023-24, the Dominicans Adrián Beltré (strong arguments), José Bautista, José Reyes and Bartolo Colón, in addition to the Mexican Adrián González and the Venezuelan Víctor Martínez, will be on the ballot.