Former Salt Lake Buzz Slugger Gets A Call From The Hall

Jan 26, 2022, 3:59 PM
Teammates high five Buzz hitter David Ortiz after his home run during game against Vancouver on Jun...
Teammates high five Buzz hitter David Ortiz after his home run during game against Vancouver on June 6, 1999 (Gary McKellar / Deseret News)
(Gary McKellar / Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Back in the day —May 13, 1999, to be exact — the Minnesota Twins came to town and defeated the Salt Lake Buzz 10-9 in an exhibition game.

At that time, nearly six weeks into the season, the major league team had yet to promote any players from the Triple-A ranks.

Moody Minnesota manager Tom Kelly explained why.

“There hasn’t been any movement because there’s nobody at Triple-A doing any good, or that good where we’d think about moving somebody,” Kelly said. “Once somebody wants to step up over here, play a little bit and show that they can play consistent ball with some pizzazz, then maybe we’ll move somebody.”

First baseman/designated hitter David Ortiz made quite a case that season. He earned Pacific Coast League all-star recognition while leading the league with 110 runs batted in. The Salt Lake slugger finished with a .590 hitting percentage, collecting 35 doubles and 30 home runs over 130 games with the Buzz. He led the PCL in runs batted in with 110, hit 30 home runs and 35 doubles and had a hitting percentage of .590. His play earned him another trip to Minnesota, where he hopes to capitalize on his opportunity.

“I thought I was going to get called up earlier,” Ortiz said at the time. “But I’m just going to go there and do my best … I’m so glad to play for the fans in Salt Lake City. They make me feel like (I can) go up there (Minnesota) and play hard.”

Although Ortiz saw limited action with the Twins that year (10 at-bats in 20 games), he stepped up in 2000 and became more of a regular fixture in the big leagues.

Ortiz wound up playing 20 seasons in the majors, knocking in 1,768 runs with 541 homers over stints with the Twins and Boston Red Sox. He was a 10-time all-star.

On Tuesday, “Big Papi” as he is known, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the lone candidate to receive the required 75% approval by the baseball writers —appearing on 77.9% of the ballots.

Ortiz played in 151 games for Salt Lake from 1997-99. He hit 36 homers and drove in 126 runs for the Buzz.

This story originally ran on

Salt Lake Bees

smiths ballpark march 2023...
Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees Opening Day Postponed, Will Play Doubleheader Saturday

Opening Day for the Salt Lake Bees has been delayed while crews work to clear the playing surface of snow.
22 hours ago
Brian Preece

Updating Salt Lake Bees 2023 Opening Day Roster

A long offseason is coming to an end as the Salt Lake Bees prepare to open for Opening Day at Smith's Ballpark this weekend.
22 hours ago
salt lake bees pitcher chase silseth...
Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees’ Chase Silseth Ready For First Pro Opening Day Start

Chase Silseth made his major league debut less than a year after the Los Angeles Angels selected him with their 11th round pick in 2021. 
22 hours ago
Smith's Ballpark...
Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees Early Schedule Includes Nine March/April Home Games

The Salt Lake Bees schedule has them playing 18 of their first 27 games away from the friendly confines of Smith's Ballpark.
2 days ago
Brian Preece

Salt Lake Bees Broadcaster Steve Klauke Talks New Rules As Opening Day Approaches

Talk of larger bases, defensive shift restrictions, and (gasp!), a pitch-clock have dominated spring training conversation this year.
3 days ago
salt -lake-bees-manager-keith-johnson...
Brian Preece

‘Familiar Feel’ For Keith Johnson As Salt Lake Bees Manager Entering 2023

In his third go-around as the manager of the Salt Lake Bees, it's easy to forget the fact that Keith Johnson played 215 games with Salt Lake.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Former Salt Lake Buzz Slugger Gets A Call From The Hall