COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — A contingent of former Yankees came out in force for Mariano Rivera’s and Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame enshrinements in recent years. Not surprisingly, the audience at Clark Sports Center will be filled Sunday with former Red Sox teammates of 2022 inductee David Ortiz.
Pedro Martinez, a member of the Hall class of 2015, heads a group of seven members from at least one of Boston’s three World Series championship teams from 2004-2013 who will be in attendance to celebrate Big Papi.
“My teammates, going back to my Minnesota days, all the way to Boston, I tried to always have my teammates’ backs, and they treated me back with the same thing,” Ortiz said Saturday. “That’s why you’re going to see so many of them out there [Sunday]. This is a fraternity, the same way it goes here in Cooperstown.”
In addition to Martinez, former Red Sox players Johnny Damon, Mike Lowell, Trot Nixon, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Kevin Youkilis are expected to attend the ceremony, according to The Boston Globe.
“People come up to me and say, ‘Hey, man, 2004, 2007, 2013, all those years [you won the World Series], you had a great season and did this and did that,’” Ortiz said. “And I’m like, yes, I did it, but without my teammates I don’t think we would have accomplished anything. My teammates always have meant a lot to me, and they know that.”
The 46-year-old Ortiz, who finished his career with 541 home runs over 20 seasons with the Twins and the Red Sox, has denied ever using steroids. But he was linked to them. He allegedly tested positive for an unspecified PED in 2003 during preliminary MLB testing, and his name surfaced in a report by the New York Times in 2009.
Still, while PED-associated former stars Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa have run out of time (10 years) on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot, Ortiz was the lone player voted in this year by the BBWAA in his first year of eligibility. He will headline a Hall class that also features Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso, Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler.
“Very excited. Just to hang out with the other Hall of Famers, they gave me a huge welcome, and it’s an honor,” Ortiz said, adding that he celebrated Friday night with Martinez and another Hall of Famer from the Dominican Republic, Vladimir Guerrero.
“Last night it was my compadres, Pedro and Vladdy,” Ortiz said. “Me and Pedro, we go way back. We have so many memories. He was basically giving me a speech, telling me what to do [Sunday], how to handle business.
“But the most important thing he told me, he just [doesn’t] want me to lose my focus. He wants me to be me, and don’t forget about where I come from and just have fun. That’s what this is all about.”
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