It was announced on Monday that Toronto Blue Jays legend José Bautista was added to the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Bautista was among the 28 players that were nominated. Other names included Adrián Beltré, Chase Utley, and Joe Mauer.
In August, Bautista signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jays to retire as a Blue Jay officially. He was then added to the Blue Jay’s Level of Excellence.
Considering that this is Bautista’s first year being eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot, there is still much for him to look forward to. That being said, let’s take a look at three reasons why he should be added to the Hall of Fame.
Why Does José Bautista Deserve a Spot in the Hall of Fame?
His Moving Underdog Story
Bautista was selected in the 20th round of the 2000 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in the minors until he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles for the Rule 5 draft in 2003. Bautista then made his MLB debut in 2004 with the Orioles. He had an average of .273 with three hits and three runs.
After 16 games, the Tampa Bay Rays claimed him off waivers. Less than a month later, Kansas City purchased him from the Rays. 13 games later he was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for Justin Huber. Not even minutes later, he was traded back to Pittsburgh along with Ty Wigginton and Matt Peterson.
Bautista became the first player in MLB history to appear on five rosters in one season. Seeing him go from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, then to Tampa, Kansas City, and back to Pittsburgh, can just prove that not all baseball legends need to have a headlining rookie season.
Bautista then continued to play in the MLB, playing 15 seasons during his career span. 10 were with the Toronto Blue Jays. He had multiple record-breaking seasons and iconic moments, that earned himself a spot on the Level of Excellence.
His Assemblage of Achievements
During his time with the Blue Jays, Bautista had broken many club records. He broke the record for the Toronto Blue Jays single-season most home runs, hitting 132 in 2011. He has the most offensive WAR at 8.3 in a Toronto Blue Jay single season and he was recognized for being the Toronto Blue Jay’s most improved player.
Not only was Bautista achieving great things for the Blue Jays, but he was also recognized multiple times by MLB. From 2010 all the way to 2015, Bautista landed himself a spot on the MLB All-Star team each year. He earned the American League Player of the Week award four times, as well as the American League Player of the Month five times. Bautista won the Esurance MLB award for his offense in 2015 and he is a three-time Silver Slugger for his prominent outfield skills.
In addition to winning awards and being recognized for his achievements in the MLB, Bautista is also an Olympic medalist. He played baseball in the 2020 Summer Olympics, representing his homeland, the Dominican Republic. They won the bronze medal.
The Bat Flip Heard Around the World
Other than the two World Series wins, many fans might claim that Bautista’s bat flip is the most iconic moment in the franchise’s history. At that point in time, it was 22 years since the Blue Jays last appeared in a playoff game.
The Jays were playing the Texas Rangers in the 2015 ALDS in Game 5. The game was tied 3-3 and Bautista is up at-bat. He hits a three-run homer adding a bat flip at the end to allow the Blue Jays to take the lead and win the game. Rangers fans were very outspoken about their hatred of the bat flip. Many called it a “disgrace to sportsmanship”.
Bautista stated, “To be able to create that type of memory for the fans in the stadium and whoever was tuned in […] that’s the biggest prize of all.” All that really matters is the sound of cheers that erupted in the Rogers Center as the team just won the 2015 ALDS.
His Accomplishments Need to be Recognized
Bautista is a man of many achievements during his career in MLB. From his underdog story to all of his awards and moments, he has earned a spot in many of Jay’s fans’ hearts. Adding him to the 2024 Hall of Fame just gives fans more reasons to appreciate him and to become a Bautista fan.