SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Before he was “Big Papi,” he was David Ortiz, a young ballplayer trying to find a way to stick in the Major Leagues.

Now, this week, he’s become immortal, in the baseball sense.

On Tuesday night, it became official — Ortiz had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 77.9% of the vote, surpassing the necessary 75% to enter Cooperstown.

According to the Salt Lake Bees communications department, Ortiz is the first player to be enshrined in the Hall having played any significant time with the current iteration of Salt Lake City’s minor league baseball team.

Before Ortiz’s election, the Bees franchise had had just one Hall of Famer wear a Salt Lake uniform; 2004 inductee Paul Molitor suited up in two games for the team when it was known as the Buzz. Ortiz, however, played more than an entire season with the Buzz at the start of his professional career.

Going to the 1999 season, Ortiz had already made his major league debut as a member of the Minnesota Twins organization but hadn’t established himself as an everyday player in the big leagues. He began the year in Salt Lake and proceeded to have one of the best individual seasons in the history of professional baseball in Utah with 30 home runs, 110 RBIs, and a batting average of .315.

Minnesota called him up for 10 games that season, but in 20 plate appearances, he failed to record a single hit. However, after his record-setting season in Salt Lake, Ortiz finally made it as a legitimate major leaguer the next season, making only spot appearances in the minors for rehab assignments for the remainder of his playing day.

David Ortiz #27 of the Minnesota Twins on October 8, 2002 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Ortiz’s career really took off when he signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2003. In Boston, he racked up 10 All-Star appearances, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and three World Series titles, winning the Series MVP in 2013.

He retired in 2016 after a 20-year career with 541 home runs, 1,786 RBIs, and a career batting average of .286. It wasn’t until 2019 that his Salt Lake record of 30 homers by a left-handed hitter was surpassed by Jared Walsh in 2019.

Though the team has since changed names (twice actually, becoming the Stingers in 2001 and the Bees in 2006) as well as affiliations (lining up with the Los Angeles Angels in 2001), Salt Lake has still found ways to commemorate one of the greats who spent time in Utah on his way to the top of the baseball world.

Before it was ruined by a trespasser, the Bees had a giant Ortiz bobblehead out near the outfield grass seating area, and a few years ago, gave away a smaller Ortiz bobblehead as part of a game night promotion.

Courtesy of Salt Lake Bees