BOSTON — When it comes to Hall of Fame candidates, it would be hard — if not impossible — to make a better last impression than Red Sox legend David Ortiz did in his final season of 2016.
Big Papi announced on his 40th birthday — Nov. 18, 2015 — that the following season would be his last.
The big slugger proceeded to spend his final season tormenting opponents and bashing the baseball like a man still in the middle of his prime.
Consider that Ortiz — who is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time — had the most doubles (a career high of 48), homers (38), RBIs (127) and extra bases (87) for any player in history in a final season. His 1.021 OPS was tops in the American League.
He also posted the highest Offensive WAR total (5.1), OPS+ (164, min. 500 plate appearances) and total bases (333), per Baseball-Reference, of any AL/NL player in his final year before retirement. Shoeless Joe Jackson posted a 7.4 oWAR, 172 OPS+ and 336 total bases in his final 1920 season before he was banned from the game.
“I think everybody wants to do that, but I don’t think anyone retires after putting up a season like that. It felt confusing,” Ortiz said in a recent phone conversation with MLB.com.
However, there was no indecision within Ortiz about ending his career. He was done and there was…