Baseball HOF inducts 7 new members
Monday, July 25, 2022

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) - The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted seven new members during induction ceremonies on Sunday. But the afternoon of speechifying, poignance and remembrance belonged to Big Papi. David Ortiz became the first career designated hitter to be selected on his first ballot when this year's round of results were announced in January. Ortiz becomes the fourth Dominican-born player to be enshrined at the Hall of Fame, joining his longtime friend Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Juan Marichal. During his 20 season MLB career, Ortiz bashed 541 homers while finishing the top five of AL MVP balloting five straight seasons over a period ending in 2007. In 2016, he enjoyed one of the great final seasons in history, hitting 38 homers with a league-leading 127 RBIs while also pacing the circuit in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS. Joining Ortiz in being inducted on Sunday was Tony Oliva, who won three batting titles, led the AL in hits five times and hit .304 over a 15-year career for the Twins. Longtime MLB pitcher and broadcaster Jim Kaat focused on thanking those who helped along the way that in a career that extended from 1959 to 1983. Kaat is the only player who faced both Ted Williams, who retired in 1960, and Julio Franco, who retired in 2007. Kaat won 283 games during his career and is remembered as the best fielding pitcher of his time, racking up 16 Gold Gloves at the position. He won his only World Series late in his career, getting a ring with the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals. Brooklyn Dodgers great Gil Hodges was also selected. A beloved member of "The Boys of Summer" teams in the 1950s, Hodges went on to perhaps his greatest fame as the manager of the "Amazin' Mets," the 1969 World Series-winning edition of the New York club that before that campaign had never won more than 73 games in a season. Hodges died of a heart attack at age 47, late in spring training before the start of the 1972 season. Long a popular choice for those pointing out Hall omissions, Hodges hit 370 homers during his career, mostly for the Dodgers during their time in Brooklyn. Hodges made the move with the Dodgers when they shifted to Los Angeles for the 1958 season. Also welcomed to the Hall was 19th-century pioneer Bud Fowler, considered to be the first Black player in professional baseball. During a long career that stretched into the 20th century, Fowler played for more than 50 teams despite being lauded as a top performer wherever he went. Often, he was forced to switch teams because a teammate or an opponent refused to take the field with him.