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Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was the only player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
"I am truly honored and blessed by my selection to the Hall of Fame — the highest honor that any baseball player can reach in their lifetime," Ortiz said in a statement. "I am grateful to the baseball writers who considered my career in its totality, not just on the statistics."
Ortiz, a.k.a. Big Papi, hit 541 career home runs, plus 17 in the postseason, and was a World Series champ three times. "For a young boy from Santo Domingo, I always dreamed of playing professional baseball," Ortiz said. He thanked his parents for supporting him, and called his time with the Red Sox "a sweet and beautiful journey."
Ortiz was the lone player to cross the 75 percent threshold for induction, named on 77.9 percent of ballots in his first year of eligibility. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Curt Schilling were all passed over in their 10th and final year of eligibility.
ESPN's Bradford Doolittle writes that Bonds, Sosa, and Clemons "have gone from posters on fans walls to the poster boys for the performance-enhancing drug era." When looking at their contributions to the sport alone, "they are sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famers," Doolittle said, "but voters prefer that they remain in the PED shadows." Schilling, meanwhile, has a history of making inflammatory remarks and social media posts, and after years of not crossing the threshold for induction, asked to be removed from the ballot, a request that was denied.
Ortiz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24. Six players who were chosen in December by era committees — Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso, Jim Kaat, Bud Fowler, and Buck O'Neil — will also be inducted, most of them posthumously.