Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is lone Baseball Hall of Fame inductee as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens miss out again
With the process still marred by the steroid era, David Ortiz was the only player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, while players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were left out.
“Big Papi” was the only player to cross the 75% threshold for induction, according to the results of this year’s voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Ortiz was nominated on 307 ballots (77.9%) in his first year of eligibility.
“I am truly honored and blessed by my selection to the Hall of Fame – the highest honor a baseball player can achieve in their lifetime,” Ortiz said in a statement released by the Boston Red Sox. “I’m grateful to baseball writers who have looked at my entire career, not just the stats.”
Bonds, baseball’s all-time point guard (66%), 354-game winner Roger Clemens (65.2%), 600-home run club member Sammy Sosa (18.5%) and longtime pitcher Curt Schilling (58.6%) were in their 10th and final year of eligibility for the BBWAA’s annual ballot.
Bonds, Sosa and Clemens went from posters on fan walls to performance-enhancing drug-era posters. From court dramas to testimony before Congress, their PED stories have been well-documented. Based on their baseball contributions, they’re surefire first-round Hall of Famers, but voters prefer they stay in the shadow of the PED.
Ortiz is a different story, despite his own PED suspicions. A 2009 New York Times article reported that Ortiz was among 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in a series of tests conducted in 2003. These results were meant to be kept confidential and were done to see if the league had reached a threshold to conduct regular testing.
Ortiz has long denied using banned substances, and in 2016 Commissioner Rob Manfred said the tests in question were inconclusive because “it was difficult to distinguish between certain substances that were legal, available over the counter and not prohibited under our program.”
Manfred added that in subsequent testing, Ortiz “never tested positive at any time during our program.”
As for the faint hope candidates, Sosa’s support never approached the election threshold, but the cases of Bonds and Clemens further divided selectors. Both crossed the 50% mark in 2017 only to see their support level off in recent seasons.
Schilling’s case was an aberration in voting history, as most of the candidates who reached the 70% mark in the vote were eventually elected. Schilling’s case on the court is solid, with 216 career wins and three World Series titles, and his percentage has topped 70% on the ballot in 2020 and 2021.
However, a history of inflammatory comments and social media posts appears to have caused Schilling’s downfall. These included a since-deleted 2016 tweet in which Schilling appeared to approve of the lynching of journalists. After failing last year, Schilling released a statement asking to be removed from the ballot.
The Hall decided against removing Schilling, but nonetheless his support dwindled in his final season of eligibility, as he fell to fifth in the final tally.
The hard-fought cases for Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Schilling will move to a new arena: Today’s Game Era Committee of the Hall of Fame, Hall Era Committees are made up of players, leaders and the media who are tasked with evaluating overlooked candidates. Today’s Gaming Committee is expected to meet next at the Winter 2022 meetings in a few months.
Among the earliest eligible for this year’s ballot, All-Star infielder Alex Rodriguez got just 34.3% of the vote despite a dazzling career that saw him finish with 696 home runs and 2,086 RBIs, totals that both rank fourth all-time in their respective countries. categories. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating baseball’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (9.4%) was the only other first-time eligible beyond Ortiz and Rodriguez to draw enough support to stay on the ballot.
Longtime third baseman Scott Rolen finished with 63.2%, which puts him fourth in the final standings. Rolen’s support has steadily increased in recent years, putting him in an excellent position to be selected perhaps as soon as the next round of voting. Others who received at least 50% support included first baseman Todd Helton (52%) and closest Billy Wagner (51%).
Ortiz, widely known for his gregarious personality and endearing nickname, became the second career designated hitter to be selected via writers’ vote. Seattle Mariner great Edgar Martinez became the first when he was elected in 2019. A member of three World Series winning teams in Boston, Ortiz hit 541 career homers and added 17 more while preparing a famous Post-season resume.
“For a young boy from Santo Domingo, it was always my dream to play professional baseball,” Ortiz said through the Red Sox. “Thanks to the encouragement of my father, Leo, and my mother, Angela Rosa, I knew from my earliest days at Estudia Espaillat High School in the Dominican Republic that I had the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing in the major leagues. .”
Ortiz will become the second member of the 2004 Red Sox Hall of Famer, who broke Boston’s 86-year championship drought by winning that season’s World Series, joining pitcher Pedro Martinez.
“We broke the curse and secured two more championships before retiring in 2016,” Ortiz said in the statement. “What a sweet and beautiful trip it has been.”
Ortiz will enter the hall during the induction ceremony at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, NY on July 24. He will join six players selected by two vintage committees last month, including Brooklyn Dodgers great Gil Hodges, Twins slugger Tony Oliva, longtime White Sox star Minnie Minoso, pitcher Jim Kaat, black baseball player Bud Fowler and Negro League legend and ambassador Buck O’Neil. All but Ortiz, Kaat and Oliva will be honored posthumously.
Additionally, the late broadcaster Jack Graney will be honored as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence, while ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian will be recognized as this year’s recipient of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for his meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
With Ortiz being the sole winner of this year’s BBWAA ballot, the writers have now only voted one player in total over the past two cycles. The sudden drought follows a fertile period for inductees, which saw the authors select 22 players in the period from 2014 to 2020.