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Boston DH David Ortiz (34) is shown crossing the plate following one of his most famous home runs, a grand slam during the eighth inning in game two of the 2013 American League Championship Series baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports FILE)

Mike Shalin's Working Press: No doubt Big Papi belongs in Hall


Jeremy Giambi has a small place in baseball history. He was the stunned victim of Derek Jeter’s remarkable playoff hustle and flip.

But the younger Giambi also has a place in Red Sox history. He was ahead of David Ortiz on the DH depth chart and his failure in the role started the Ortiz run as one of the top three hitters in Red Sox history.

Tonight, Ortiz’s No. 34 goes up on the right field façade on David Ortiz Night at Fenway.

While Ted Williams is regarded by most as the greatest hitter of all time, he didn’t help bring three championships to Fenway. He didn’t even help bring ONE. Big Papi was the central figure in all three, helped lead “our (bleeping) city” through the Boston Marathon Bombings and was still one of the game’s real threats in his final season, leaving Red Sox fans praying he’d give it one more shot.

Tonight SHOULD put those dreams to bed.

I will give Ted the No. 1 spot, but, sorry, I’m going with Ortiz ahead of Carl Yastrzemski as No. 2.

His legacy is somewhat tainted because of the drug suspicions. Some will leave him off their Hall of Fame ballot because of that. Others might not vote for him because he was a DH, the greatest DH of them all. Be serious. Ortiz is a Hall of Famer, case CLOSED.

Drafty week

Some of the humor came up well short, but I watched every minute of Wednesday night’s NHL awards/expansion show. It was fun and it gave us more hockey as we head into the dead season. The amateur draft is tonight, a night after we get the answers to what’s going on in the NBA (we analyze that Sunday).

Patrice Bergeron won his fourth Selke Trophy as the league’s best two-way player as he added to his Hall of Fame resume.

His teammates took to Twitter to tip their helmets.

Brad Marchand, named to the NHL’s first All-Star team: “So at what point do we change it from the Selke to the Bergy? Congrats berg well deserved!”

David Backes: “Congrats to Patrice Bergeron on another well deserved Selke award. Great player, better teammate and man. @NHLBruins #4Selkes”

It was cool that Marc-Andre Fleury was taken by the Knights 14 years to the day since he was selected by the Penguins with the first pick in 2003 draft. He won three Cups in Pittsburgh.

Making sense

Markelle Fultz on NOT winding up with the Celtics: “If you look at what the Celtics do, they trade a lot. That’s what they’re known for. At the end of the day they did what’s best for the organization and best for themselves. But I feel like they have a lot of respect for me and I still have a lot of respect for them.”

As now-former teammate David Harris signs on with the Patriots, Sheldon Richardson told NJ.com he has to beat Tom Brady. “I’ve told him before I’ve left the field, ‘Bro, don’t retire ’til I beat you,’” he said. “He laughed it off and kept going. It’s a pleasure to play against him. But he knows what I’m chasing, and he knows I’m trying to knock the king off his throne.”

Don’t count on it happening this year, Sheldon.

LeBron James continues to put his money where his mouth is, now donating $2.5 million to National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Muhammad Ali Display.

By the way, the Clippers reportedly hired Jerry West as a consultant with the hopes of luring James after next season.

High drama

Wednesday afternoon, Max Scherzer lost his no-hitter on a hit off his glove in the eighth inning — and then lost the game. Later, Justin Verlander, Scherzer’s old teammate, lost a perfect game when Jarrod Dyson dragged a bunt for a single. Then Verlander didn’t make it out of the sixth.

Poor defense led to the Washington loss, and postgame analyst Ray Knight, clearly exasperated, said, “I’m just mad at everybody. I’m mad at myself.”

Should a guy bunt to break up a perfecto or a no-no? If he’s a speed guy and it’s a winnable game, sure he should. As Mike Lowell said Thursday on MLB Network: “Bunting is part of Dyson’s game. Zero issues.”

No panic needed

The Red Sox bullpen melted down before they could get to Craig Kimbrel but that shouldn’t detract from what these guys have done — even without Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith. Overall, it’s been good.

From the Sox Monday: “Boston’s bullpen can take a lot of credit for this (7-3) run. Relievers have allowed four runs in 37 1/3 innings for a 0.96 ERA over 10 games through Sunday, and the Sox have the second-best overall bullpen ERA (2.80) in the big leagues, behind only Cleveland (2.56). Joe Kelly hasn’t allowed a run in his past 16 2/3 innings, while (Kimbrel) has allowed three earned runs in 31 2/3 innings this season.

The Red Sox were 29-0 when leading after seven innings before Wednesday. It happens.

Young power

Through Wednesday, two rookies were leading their respective leagues in homers: Cody Bellinger in the NL and Aaron Judge in the AL.

“It’s crazy,” said Bellinger, who had 22 homers and didn’t come up until April 25, getting to 21 faster than anyone in the history of the game. “A month and a half ago, if you told me what I was gonna do, I’d probably call you crazy.”

This and that

Entering play Wednesday, the Angels’ Yunel Escobar, in town this weekend, was hitting .303 over the last three seasons, tops among all third baseman. … From Darren Drager: “After a 34-goal, 70-pt season David Pastrnak was named the Czech Republic’s best player today. He’s the youngest ever to win the award.” … From Marc D’Amico: “Latest #WojBomb is a double-negative for Celtics. Nets get younger (with D’Angelo Russell) and more talented, Lakers (with Brook Lopez) clear tons of cap space for ’18 and beyond.” … MLB and the players union are donating $1 million to the Negro League Museum in KC. … From my pal Dave Laurila earlier this week: “Small sample size — just 77 plate appearances — but Mallex Smith is slashing .357/.416/.457, w/ 9 steals, for Rays. Exciting young player.” … More Laurila: “Mookie Betts leads the Red Sox in home runs (12) and RBIs (40). Travis Shaw has 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.” … He can be annoying, but you have to tip your cap to Joe West, who umpired his 5,000th game Tuesday — third all-time. … Interesting note of the week had the Celtics turning down the Bulls’ offer of Jimmy Butler for the No. 1 pick in the draft that Boston traded away. … Finally, we give you Dwyane Wade on Twitter: “18.3 points a game in 29mins on 43% shooting at 35 years old. if I’m 25 with the same numbers I’m getting 150 million.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


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