David Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first turn on the ballot, while steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry to Cooperstown in their final year under consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Ortiz, a clutch slugger and 10-time All-Star over 20 seasons mostly with the Boston Red Sox, was named on 77.9% of ballots unveiled Tuesday night, clearing the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. He’s the fourth primary designated hitter voted into the Hall.
“It’s something I really never dreamed of it,” Ortiz said. “I was the type of player, I know I got the talent, but all I was looking for was the opportunity to be an everyday player.”
Ortiz batted .286 with 541 home runs with Boston and Minnesota while making 88% of his plate appearances as a designated hitter, the most by anyone in the Hall. He’s the fourth Hall of Famer born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero.
Ortiz will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24 along with era committee selections Buck O’Neil, Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat and Bud Fowler.
Bonds, Clemens and Curt Schilling were all rejected in their 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds is the sport’s career home run leader and Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards, but voters denied them the game’s highest honor over suspicions they used PEDs. Bonds got 66% of the vote, and Clemens was at 65.2%.
Canada is set to have a 37-year-old veteran of almost 1,400 NHL games, a top draft pick and a college goaltender front and center at the Beijing Olympics.
Longtime NHL forward Eric Staal, 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power and Northeastern goalie Devon Levi were among the players named Tuesday by Hockey Canada to the 25-man roster.
No one playing in this Olympic men’s hockey tournament has been around as long as Staal, who won the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes and a gold medal on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Games. He played in the NHL as recently as last season with the Montreal Canadiens, who reached the Cup Final.
“This opportunity was something that is too good to pass up,” Staal said. “I’m looking forward to this chance to represent our country and go for a gold medal.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle has broken the NHL record by playing in his 965th consecutive game.
The 35-year-old Yandle passed the previous mark set by Doug Jarvis, who played 964 straight games over his entire career from Oct. 8, 1975, to Oct. 10, 1987.
Yandle started his streak March 26, 2009, with Phoenix, and he has played 1,075 games overall with the Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Flyers.
Arizona’s Phil Kessel is third on the list at 940 straight games and could also pass Jarvis before the end of the season.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Before Sean Payton took his first head coaching job in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints had a grand total of one playoff victory since their founding in 1967.
The standard will be considerably higher for the next head coach in the Big Easy.
Payton, whose 16-year tenure with the club included its only Super Bowl championship and also a one-season suspension stemming from the NFL’s bounty investigation, is leaving coaching — for now.
Payton informed the team on Tuesday that he is leaving his first and only NFL head coaching job with a 152-89 regular-season record — and nine playoff appearances — in 15 seasons. The 2009 Saints won the NFL title.
“I don’t like the word retirement,” Payton said Tuesday afternoon at an announcement attended by owner Gayle Benson, top management and assistant coaches. “I still have a vision for doing things in football. And I’ll be honest with you, that might be coaching again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year, I think maybe in the future. That’s not where my heart is right now.”
Payton is under contract with the Saints for three more seasons, and if he’s hired by another NFL team before then, his new team would have to provide compensation to New Orleans.
NEW YORK (AP) — The four NFL divisional round playoff games had the highest average viewers on record with 38.2 million tuning in on television and digital platforms.
Every game over the weekend came down to the final play. Besides it being the highest average for the divisional round since Nielsen started keeping track of viewer averages in 1988, it was a 20% increase over last year and up 12% compared to two years ago.
Kansas City’s 42-36 overtime victory over Buffalo averaged 42.74 million on CBS, making it the most-watched divisional playoff game on any network since the 2017 Green Bay-Dallas matchup averaged 48.52 million on Fox. Sunday night’s audience peaked at 51.70 million.
Sunday’s first game — the Los Angeles Rams’ 30-27 win over Tampa Bay — averaged 40 million, making it NBC’s most-watched non-Super Bowl game since the start of its “Sunday Night Football” package in 2006.
San Francisco’s 13-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night averaged 36.92 million on Fox while Cincinnati’s 19-16 win over Tennessee drew 30.75 million.
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Davis’ knee felt good. Once he gets his conditioning back, perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers can finally make a lengthy push.
Davis scored eight points in 25 minutes after missing 17 games with a sprained left knee, helping the Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets 106-96 on Tuesday night.
Davis had not played since Dec. 17. The Lakers went 7-10 in his absence.
“For the most part I felt fine, I felt great out there,” Davis said. “The first couple of minutes the adrenaline took over and after that kind of went away the wind caught up to me. When I got my second wind I was fine for the rest of the game.”
Davis started at center. His return was a boost for a team that has played below expectations all season and is just 24-24, eighth in the Western Conference.