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David Ortiz 'humbled' to lead 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame class

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David Ortiz 'humbled' to lead 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame class
Longtime Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz on Sunday said he was "humbled" to lead the National Baseball Hall of Fame's class of 2022. Photo by George Napolitano/UPI | License Photo

July 24 (UPI) -- The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., welcomed its 2022 class, headlined by longtime Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz on Sunday.

Ortiz, 46, thanked God, as well as his friends and family and the organizers of the Hall of Fame in his induction speech on Sunday afternoon.

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"This is such an incredible day, an incredible honor and I'm so humbled to be on this stage right now," he said.

The power hitter known as "Big Papi" was born in the Dominican Republic and began his career with the Minnesota Twins before spending 14 seasons with the Red Sox that included 10 All-Star appearances, three World Series Champions as well as World Series and ALCS MVP awards.

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He totaled 541 home runs for his career, the 17th most in MLB history. Ortiz hit .286 over his 20 seasons and ranks No. 8 all time in extra base hits.

On Sunday, Ortiz thanked the coaches and executives that he said helped guide his career.

"Before I was Big Papi, before the Red Sox, before the Twins I was just a kid playing ball in the Dominican Republic. To all my coaches from winter ball, minor league and the big league I could not have done it without you," he said.

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He also gave thanks to Major League Baseball for "all the support you have given me throughout my professional career."

"This game is so important here in America and around the world. Thank you for all the support you have given baseball as a sport so that it continues to be part of our culture and part of the heart of all the fans worldwide," said Ortiz.

Other inductees on Sunday included Tony Oliva, the 1964 Rookie of the Year, eight-time ALL-Star and three-time batting champion with the Minnesota Twins; Jim Kaat, the 16-time Gold Glove winner who won the World Series with the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals; Minnie Minoso, a nine-time All-Star and the first Black Cuban to play for the Chicago White Sox; Gil Hodges an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and two-time World Series champion with the Dodgers and Mets; Bud Fowler, the first Black player to integrate into White professional leagues in 1878 and Buck O'Neil a player, coach, manager, scout and executive over an eight-decade baseball career that began in the Negro Leagues and saw him become the MLB's first Black coach with the Chicago Cubs in 1962.

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