Orioles fans shudder when they think about David Ortiz. There was the ugly incident in July when Ortiz smashed the dugout phone in Oriole Park.
Ortiz was thrown out of the game, but responded the next day with four hits.
There was that dustup with Kevin Gregg two years before at Fenway Park.
And, of course, he’s hit 38 home runs against the Orioles.
The good news is that the Orioles have held “Big Papi” in relative check, though it doesn’t always seem that way. He’s batting .258 against the Orioles in 196 career games, 34 points below his lifetime average.
Watching Ortiz, who’ll be 38 next month, toy with the St. Louis Cardinals is undoubtedly painful for Orioles fans. His destructive behavior, for which he was only fined—and not suspended—didn’t sit well with many.
With Ortiz on the verge of winning his third World Series, it’s natural to wonder if he’s a Hall of Famer.
Ortiz has played nearly 2,000 major league games, nearly 87 percent of them at designated hitter. No player who’s been primarily a DH has gotten to Cooperstown.
There’s also the issue of PEDs. Ortiz tested positive in 2003 before there were sanctions.
Ortiz has 431 home runs. He’s hit 30 or more seven times, including this season at 37. He also has seven seasons of more than 100 RBIs.
He’s not only a home run hitter. Ortiz has a .292 lifetime average with 11 seasons of at least 30 doubles, and his on-base percentage is a staggering .381. His OPS is .930.
In the Series’ first five games, Ortiz is 11-for-15. The rest of the Red Sox are 22-for-146 (.151). He has 17 postseason home runs, most of them vital, and in three World Series, he’s batting .465. His 1.370 World Series OPS is the highest in history.
Because there’s no DH in National League parks, Ortiz played first base for three games in St. Louis, and he wasn’t horrible.
Ortiz’s big game heroics have made a Hall of Famer. His regular season stats compare with some excellent players who aren’t likely to go to Cooperstown, Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi and Paul Konerko.
Kirby Puckett had excellent regular season stats, too, but he was elevated to the Hall of Fame thanks to two World Series wins for the Minnesota Twins. That’s likely to happen to Ortiz, too.
He has another season left on his contract. In 2009, he was considered finished when he had just one home run and a .188 batting average in his first 49 games. Ortiz rebounded smartly then.
As the St. Louis Cardinals have learned, Ortiz is a brilliant hitter, one of the best in this generation, and he’s secured Hall of Fame status with this performance.