After hitting his 27th home run of the 2013 season on Thursday night, it is clear that David Ortiz is a machine of a hitter.
At the age of 37 ,he has put up a line of .308/.393/.560 with 91 RBIs to compliment his 27 home runs, and was voted to the ninth All-Star game of his career in July. These are remarkable achievements for any player who is 37 years of age, and will likely result in Ortiz winning the seventh Edgar Martinez Award of his career.
But has Ortiz done enough to cement a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
In favor of Ortiz is the fact that he has flat-out raked the ball during his career, putting up a line of .286/.381/.548 with 428 home runs and 1417 RBIs over seventeen seasons. During this time, Ortiz has finished in the top-10 in slugging percentage in eight seasons, top-10 in on-base percentage in eight seasons, top-10 in RBI six times, top-10 in on-base percentage five times and top-five in home runs five times.
Each of these incredible achievements has helped Ortiz compile the most hits, home runs and RBI of any designated hitter of all-time, a remarkable feat considering Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines, Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas all spent large spells as designated hitters.
Where Ortiz really made his name and accomplished nearly all of these feats was with the Boston Red Sox, who acquired him after being released by the Minnesota Twins after the 2002 season and made him their designated hitter. Ortiz took the job and never looked back, recording a regular season line of .292/.389/.571 with 369 home runs and 1178 RBIs during his career in Boston.
These statistics have only improved during the playoffs, as he has hit .283/.388/.520 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs in 66 games while picking up two World Series victories. The result of this time in Boston is that Ortiz has not only become a legend in a baseball-mad city, but one of the best designated hitters in baseball history.
People will be using this greatness as a designated hitter against Ortiz though, pointing out that he has never had to learn how to use the field while taking 85.67 percent of his at-bats as a designated hitter. Since the designated hitter was invented in 1973, no player that has played even half of their games as a designated hitter has been selected into the Hall of Fame, signaling an obvious bias against these players.
The thought process of many voters is that if a guy can not play the field, then he is not deserving of being in the Hall of Fame — but isn’t the point of the Hall of Fame to reward those who are the best at their individual positions?
If the answer to that question is yes, then Ortiz should obviously be voted into the Hall of Fame once he becomes eligible.