On Wednesday night, David Ortiz recorded his 2,000th career big league base hit. Ortiz already holds almost every offensive record as a designated hitter, but is he a surefire Hall-of-Famer?
There has long been a debate about whether or not a designated hitter should be eligible for the Hall of Fame given all they do is hit and don’t bring any value to a team in the field. Well, if the best closers of all-time are in the hall of fame despite only pitching an inning at a time in just 70 or so games a year, then a guy contributing with the bat every day should be able to make the hall too.
Ortiz’s 2,000 hits might actually be the number that hurts his Hall-of-Fame candidacy. There are not a whole lot of players enshrined in Cooperstown that have that few hits, but there are enough that it can be overlooked. Bobby Doerr and Phil Rizzuto both had fewer than 2,000 hits, but played an up the middle position defensively. So, reaching the 2,000 hit mark is huge for Big Papi’s candidacy.
Most of Ortiz’ value comes from his home run and overall run production. He has 427 long balls in his career, the 46th most in baseball history. There are nine players with more career home runs than Ortiz who are currently eligible for the Hall of Fame, but not in. Of those, perhaps only Fred McGriff has not been tied to steroids in some way.
Ortiz is in the top-70 on the all-time RBI list, and will likely move into the top-50 next season. His career slash line is .287/.381/.549, and he has a laundry list of game-winning hits.
David Ortiz will go down as an all-time great when talking about Boston Red Sox, but maybe he should simply be considered an all-time great.