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September 16, 2009

David Ortiz...are you familiar?

Familiarity is a wonderful thing.

I'll explain.

Last night, I was doing the same thing most adolescent pre-teen girls were doing (hanging out on Facebook) when a friend of mine from school sent me a message.

I was astounded!

Here was a guy I've known since the second grade, I hadn't talked to in more than 15 years and we were able to pick up (as much as you can through IMs) where we left off before college and the real world dominated our lives.

To me, I find it fascinating when things like that happen. Good friends can do that, and in baseball...great hitters can pick it up regardless the amount of time they were disconnected from their craft.

Such was the case last night with David Ortiz.

Earlier in the season, "Big Papi" was entrenched in the worst slump of his career...a .188 batting average and one home run from Opening Day through June 5. He entered the season with 289 career bombs and back in March, The Hall made the prediction that he'd hit the 300 home run milestone by early to mid-May.

Number 300 came on July 9.

13 long balls later...Ortiz entered MUCH more exclusive territory by becoming the all-time leader in home runs by a designated hitter with an eighth inning bomb off Angels reliever Jose Arredondo.

In an age of the professional power hitter (and let's face it, most designated hitters are big, lumbering fellas who swing for the fences), it is interesting that 270 (or 86%) of Papi's 313 home runs. By comparison, Frank Thomas (the previous leader with 269) hit only 51% of his 521 home runs as a DH.

So with the emphasis on power hitters lately (and no, this is not going to turn into a steroid debate), I've still gotta wonder...who is going to be the first time full-time DH to knock down Cooperstown's door?

I've made my case for Harold Baines and he can't seem to muster more than six percent of the writer's vote. Edgar Martinez faces a very crowded ballot at the end of this season and, honestly, I'm not sure he's got the right stuff.

Thomas will get in...but I'm willing to bet his plaque lists him as a first baseman rather than a designated hitter.

So who is it going to be? Make your voice heard in the comments section and vote!

BallHype: hype it up!

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