Ortiz: “I was not surprised to see those flags outside, on the contrary, I expected it because I know what we are. When we put something on, nobody is better than us”.
Dominican David Ortiz promised that he was going to speak from the heart and he delivered. With his radiant smile and overflowing with emotion, the former Boston Red Sox outfielder was exalted to the Hall of Fame, in a ceremony in which his daughter Alexandra sang the U.S. anthem.
His speech did not disappoint at all, with an unprecedented style of mixing English with Spanish, delighting the tens of thousands of fans installed next to the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York.
Ortiz, the first designated hitter elected to his first opportunity on the Baseball Writers’ Association of North America ballot, spoke of his country, his family, his managers and coaches, the Twins and, of course, the Red Sox.
“Thank you God, for giving me the strength all these years to stay strong and grounded; with all the ups and downs and sacrifices I had to make to be here with you today,” said the author of 541 home runs and lifetime OPS of .931 in 20 major league seasons, in which he helped the Red Sox win their first three World Series titles since 1918. “This is an incredible day, an incredible honor.”
Among English- and Spanish-speaking Hall of Famers, the norm had been to speak first in English and then in Spanish. But Ortiz broke the mold, switching from one language to the other in a light, fun and informal style, going so far as to greet “all the tigers of mine that are out there.”
“My people in the Dominican Republic, my land. The land that saw me born,” continued Ortiz, who retired after the 2016 campaign. “Thanks to its people who have always welcomed me as one of their favorite sons and have given me their support step by step throughout my career. “Thank you for my Quisqueya la Bella. Nothing compared to that.”