David Ortiz last played for the Boston Red Sox during the 2016 season. In that campaign, Ortiz capped off a great career with a huge final season, batting .315 on the year, crushing 38 homers, and leading the league in doubles (48), RBI (127), slugging (.620), and OPS (1.021).
The Red Sox couldn't make enough noise in the postseason to send Ortiz into the sunset with a fourth ring, but he did everything he could to cement himself as one of the greatest designated hitters to ever play the game.
That was five years ago, and with 2021 Hall of Fame voting in the books, Ortiz can officially say that he will be eligible for the next Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. And in all likelihood, he will be on it. The only question is about whether he'll get in on his first try.
And how is Ortiz feeling about his upcoming presence on the ballot?
"I’m getting old, that’s how I feel," Ortiz said in a recent interview with Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. "Those five years went by fast. But it’s exciting to have my name mentioned with all those incredible players from the game."
Ortiz certainly belongs among the pantheon of the greats as a member of the 500 home-run club with a career batting average of .286 in 2,408 games. But it wasn't always easy for him, which he conceded in the interview with Abraham.
"What I think about is when I was getting started in the big leagues and I didn’t get much of an opportunity from the team I was with at the time [the Twins]," Ortiz said. "I had to wait for an opportunity in Boston, too. I made my own way in the game. Nothing was given to me."
The wait turned out to be worth it. Ortiz became a legend and fan favorite for the Red Sox, hitting 483 total home runs for the team and being a key part in the team's curse-breaking 2004 World Series win. He helped lead the team to two more World Series titles in 2007 and 2013 and notably gave a legendary speech at the first Red Sox game after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Will Ortiz be a first-ballot Hall of Famer? That's a question that can only be answered when voting takes place in early 2022. Only a few designated hitters have made it into the Hall of Fame and it famously took Edgar Martinez, one of the greatest DHs ever, 15 years to get in.
But Ortiz isn't worried about making it in on his first try, though it would be an honor. He knows that there's nothing he can do to improve his case at this point.
"I’ve got the numbers," Ortiz said. "There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’ll sit back and wait to see what happens. But that would be a great honor if that happened."