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With One More Walk-Off, Big Papi Trots Into Cooperstown

  • January 26, 2022

The David Ortiz Bridge, on Brookline Ave., above the Mass Pike, connects the Fenway Park neighborhood to Kenmore Square in Boston. From there it’s about four hours to Cooperstown, N.Y., soon to be home to another lasting marker of Ortiz’s outsize legacy.

Ortiz, whose slugging and swagger helped the Boston Red Sox become the most successful franchise of the new century, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday. In his first year on the ballot, Ortiz was the only candidate to clear the 75 percent threshold needed for election, collecting 77.9 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The election was the 10th and final verdict by the writers on the candidacies of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, longtime superstars whose records have been tainted by connections to performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds, whose 762 home runs are the most in Major League Baseball history, received 66 percent of the vote, while Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards, got 65.2.

Two other prominent names also dropped off the ballot: Curt Schilling, who had more than 3,000 strikeouts, and Sammy Sosa, who hit more than 600 homers. Schilling, who has joked online about lynching journalists, collected 58.6 percent of the vote, and Sosa, who has strong ties to steroid use, got only 18.5 percent. Like Bonds and Clemens, they could still be elected in future years by small committees.

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