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David Ortiz was among the baseball legends who were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso, Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler joined the former Boston Red Sox great in Cooperstown.
Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star for the Red Sox from 2003 to 2016. He was an integral part of helping Boston break the “Curse of the Bambino” and win their first World Series title in 2004 — the organization’s first since 1918. Boston also won it in 2007 and 2013. Ortiz was the 2013 World Series MVP.
Ortiz originally started out as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He played six years with the Twins but was let go following the 2002 season. Boston signed him in January 2003 and his career essentially changed there.
After it appeared he had been an outcast by the Twins, Ortiz ended up playing 14 more years in Boston. He finished his career with 541 home runs, a .286 batting average and a .931 OPS. He would become one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball whether it was the regular season or the postseason.
“If my story can remind you of anything, let it remind you that if you believe in someone, you can change their world,” he said at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “You can change their future, just like so many people who believed in me.”
Ortiz also became a major figure in Boston, outside of the World Series championships. His speech at Fenway Park following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 helped bring the city back together. It was a moment he touched on in his speech as well.
“We have some incredible memories. When I think about Boston, I definitely think about 2004, 2007, and of course 2013, after the city was shaken by a marathon bombing. I have never seen a community bounce back and reunite like Boston,” he said.
“When I think about Boston, I also think about the last game I played, standing on the field at Fenway Park. It felt like the whole city of New England and each one and every one of you was surrounding me and was showing me all your love. I will always be Boston, and I will always be there for you, Boston. I love you Boston.”
Ortiz’s appearance in Cooperstown also came two years after he was the wrong target of an assassination attempt in the Dominican Republic. He had his gallbladder and portions of his intestines and colon removed in subsequent surgeries.
He got into the Hall of Fame with 77.9% of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Oliva, Kaat, Hodges, Miñoso, O’Neil and Fowler were among those voted in via the veterans committee.
Oliva was a three-time batting champion and eight-time All-Star with the Twins from 1962 to 1976. He won the American League Rookie of the Year in 1964 — his first full season with Minnesota.
Kaat was a three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove winner. He played 15 of his 25-year career with the Twins. He won the 1982 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hodges was a star for the Brooklyn Dodgers and managed the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969.
Miñoso was the first Black player in Chicago White Sox history and the first Afro-Latino in the majors. He played 12 years for the White Sox from 1951-1957, 1960-61, 1964, 1976 and 1980. He was one of the first batters over 50 years old to get a hit. After the age of 50, he was 1-for-10.
O’Neil was a star in the Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs. He became a chief advocate for the Negro Leagues after baseball integrated and helped create the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
Fowler was one of the first known African Americans who played baseball. He grew up in Cooperstown and played baseball in more than a dozen leagues. He also helped form the Page Fence Giants in Michigan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.