Iconic Red Sox slugger Ortiz enters Baseball Hall of Fame

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Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, whose batting helped spark the club to three Major League Baseball titles, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

The ceremony was staged near the museum and baseball showplace at Cooperstown, New York.

The 46-year-old Dominican nicknamed "Big Papi" was part of the team that ended Boston's 86-year title drought by winning the 2004 World Series and added crowns in 2007 and 2013, when he was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

"My teammates were always there for me and that's something I'm always going to appreciate," Ortiz said of his Red Sox years.

"Teammates are your second family. I'm going to love you guys forever... I'm going to thank you guys for the rest of my life. I don't think I would have made it without all of you."

Ortiz thanked dozens of people who helped guide his path to stardom, including Dominican Republic and United States youth coaches for developing his skills and work ethic.

"I knew once I got my shot I was going to work hard and never let it go until I played my last game," Ortiz said.

Ortiz was a first baseman and designated hitter in his 20 MLB seasons, finishing his career with a .286 batting average, 541 home runs and 1,768 runs batted in.

"When they told me, 'I don't want you to move them over, I want you to bring them in,' the rest is history," Ortiz said. "When you believe in someone, you can change the world."

The left-hander was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners in 1992 but traded to Minnesota in 1996 before making his MLB debut with the Twins in 1997.

Ortiz was released by Minnesota in 2003 and signed with the Red Sox, playing for them through 2016. He was a 10-time MLB All-Star in 14 seasons with Boston, setting a Red Sox season record with 54 homers in 2006.

The Red Sox retired Ortiz's jersey number, 34, in 2017.

Ortiz noted how Boston recovered from the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon and how much love he felt from city fans.

"I've never seen a community reunite and bounce back like Boston," Ortiz said, adding, "I'll always be there for you Boston. I love you Boston."

Ortiz was the only player voted into the Hall in 2022 by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, being named on 77.9% of ballots in his first year of eligibility.

Also entering the Hall of Fame on Sunday were "Golden Days Committee" electees Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva and Minnie Minoso plus "Early Era Committee" electees Bud Fowler and Buck O'Neil.

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