UTICA, NEW YORK (WHDH) – It’s official: David Ortiz has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Big Papi joined the hall with the Class of 2022 in front of 35,000 fans in Cooperstown, where he delivered a heartfelt speech on Sunday.
“This is such an incredible day and incredible honor, and I am so humbled to be on this stage right now,” Ortiz said, following chants of “Papi!” from the crowd as he approached the podium.
Ortiz said he wouldn’t have been able to reach the National Baseball Hall of Fame without the Red Sox.
“I can’t thank you guys enough for building me up and supporting me throughout the years,” said Ortiz. “That organization made me the man that I am today. They educate me about the game, but they also educate me about life.”
In a post-ceremony press conference, he said he could not believe he was among numerous baseball stars, including fellow inductees and Minnesota Twins alumni, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva. He said he was humbled to be on the stage and thanked everyone from coaches to teammates to the Red Sox organization, becoming emotional as he thanked his father and late mother.
Shout-outs were made to former players such as Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Trot Nixon, who were part of the 2004 Red Sox lineup that reversed the curse and won the team’s first championship since 1918.
Throughout his speech, the former designated hitter and first baseman also took time to acknowledge fans and their support throughout the years.
“I want you guys to know that, even with the God-given talent that I have, I don’t think I would have made it without the support and love coming from all of you,” Ortiz said. “If my story can remind you of anything, let it remind you that when you believe in someone, you can change their world, you can change their future, just like so many people who believed in me.”
Several Era Committee selections joined Ortiz to make up the Hall of Fame Class of ’22, including Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva, the late Minnie Miñoso, former Dodgers star and Mets manager Gil Hodges, and Black pioneers Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler.
Ortiz said he’s grateful to call the City of Boston his second home.
“When I think about Boston,” said Ortiz, “I definitely think about 2004, 2007 and, of course, 2013. After the city was shaken by the marathon bombing, I have never seen a community bounce back and reunite like Boston. … I will always be Boston and I will always be there for you Boston. I love you Boston.”
Ortiz said he will stick around the Red Sox, adding he still works for them, and will continue to know what’s going on in Boston.
(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)