Ahead of Ken Griffey Jr.’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, the longtime Seattle Mariners slugger expressed his belief that Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz should join him on the hallowed ground in Cooperstown, New York.

According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, Griffey lauded Big Papi’s resume and labeled it Hall of Fame-worthy Saturday: “He’s done an incredible job in that city. Do I think he’s a Hall of Famer? Absolutely. Just look at the numbers he’s put up: Three (World Series) titles, and the list of his accomplishments on the field goes on. You can’t take that away from him.”

Griffey—who will enter the Hall of Fame with a record-breaking 99.32 percent of the vote—also fondly remembered Ortiz coming up through the Mariners farm system as a prospect, per Crasnick:

I got a chance to see him young. He wasn’t Big Papi. He was ‘Thin Papi’ at that time. To watch him do the things he’s done over the years, he’s become one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. He’s the one guy where you say, ‘If we’re up by two, let’s just walk him and go for the next guy.’ He’s got a chance to put a team up by three real quick.

Ortiz announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the season, and there is no question his numbers are Hall of Fame-caliber in nature.

He entered play Saturday with a career batting average of .286 to go along with 527 home runs and 1,720 RBI, not to mention his postseason heroics.

Ortiz has been a DH for the vast majority of his career, so the fact he has contributed in only one facet of the game could impact the way the voters view him.

Perhaps more importantly, though, it was revealed in 2009 that Ortiz allegedly failed a 2003 drug test, which called into question the authenticity of his numbers.

Voters have held other performance-enhancing-drug-linked players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro out of the Hall of Fame despite statistics that make them strong candidates.

That is an issue Ortiz may have to face five years down the line, but he has the support of an all-time great and peer.


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