Whether Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz will make it into the Hall of Fame is the subject of debate, despite picking up home run No. 500 of his career earlier this week.
Los Angeles Angels star Albert Pujols, however, isn't among those putting Big Papi's candidacy in question. In fact, as Pujols told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, he's staunchly in Ortiz's corner when it comes to showing support.
Pujols told Gonzalez that the two players exchanged text messages once Pujols hit No. 500 of his career last season, telling Ortiz 'you're the next one' to reach the milestone.
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After Ortiz connected on Saturday for his 500th, Pujols phoned him to send his congratulations: "Just to congratulate him and tell him how proud I am, how proud our country is for what he has accomplished in this game," Pujols explained to Gonzalez, adding, "Who David is off the field - that's the most important thing. People don't get to see what he does through his foundation and in the [Dominican Republic]. Players that are around him and people that know him - we all know what kind of person he is. To me, that's the most important thing."
With Ortiz's two-homer game, he joined Pujols as the only two players in MLB history to hit 499 and 500 in the same game. He's also now the fourth Dominican-born player in the 500 club, alongside Pujols, Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez (as Gonzalez pointed out).
Of course, Sosa's PED speculation has largely played a role in his not being inducted and Ramirez hasn't reached Hall of Fame eligibility yet. As for Ortiz, Pujols didn't shy away from being honest and open about it: "There's no doubt that he's a Hall of Famer," Pujols told Gonzalez. "Just look at what he has done and what he has accomplished over his last 15 years, and look at what he has done in the postseason. I think that counts."
Will both he and Ortiz make it into the Hall of Fame one day? Only time will tell.