BY Marvin Azrak.
Big Papi burst into a big smile on Tuesday night.
Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try Tuesday.
But the baseball association of America denied Barry Bonds and Rodger Clemens entry, stirring up controversy surrounding the Hall of Fame voting process.
Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star over 20 seasons, mainly with the Boston Red Sox, was named on 77.9% of ballots, clearing the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. He’s the first Red Sox since Pedro Martinez 2015 . Three of his 23 career walk-offs, came during Boston’s curse-breaking 2004 postseason when the Red Sox thwarted the rival Yankees and won their first World Series title in 86 years.
He’s the fourth Hall of Famer born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marichal, Martinez, and Vladimir Guerrero.
The left-handed hitter was signed by the Mariners as a teenager and traded to the Twins as a minor leaguer. He made his major league debut in 1997 but hardly looked like a future Hall of Famer there, slashing a .266 batting average in 455 games, with a woeful.348 on base percentage, and .461slugging percentage with just 58 homers.
He was released in 2002, signed with Boston, and the rest was history.
Ortiz said he joined the Red Sox to learn what ingredient in their organization created a winning culture.
Ortiz batted .290 with a .386 OBP, and .570 slugging percentage while also walloping 483 bombs in 14 years with Boston to finish his career with 541 home runs, a .286 batting average, a .380 OBP, and a .552 slugging percentage in 18 seasons.
Ortiz also was involved in drugs controversy, but enough of the younger voters combined with the requisite amount from the “Anti-PED” contingent, looked past a reported positive test that came during survey testing in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous. Ortiz has denied using steroids several times, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said in 2016, “I think it would be wrong” to exclude him from the Hall of Fame based on that lone test.
“I never failed a test (after that), so what does that tell you?” Ortiz said on Tuesday.
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.
But while David Ortiz and Red Sox nation, was celebrating, the rest of the baseball world was enraged.
Bonds is MLB’s career home run leader with 762 blasts, slugged a record 73 homers in 2001, set a record with 2,558 career walks(666 of them being intentional, also a form), set a record with 232 walks in a season, took home a record seven MVP awards. His single-season submissions of .609 on-base percentage and .863 slugging percentage have stood the test of time thus far. Barry was also a 14-time all-star, 12 time Silver Slugger award winner, eight-time gold glove award winner, and won the Hank Aaron award thrice, despite never winning a World Series in 18 years with the Pirates and Giants.
As for Clemens, he won a record seven Cy Young Awards and two WorldSeries championships with the Yankees. But voters denied them the game’s highest honor over allegations they used PEDs which the duo never admitted they knowingly did. Bonds got 66% of the vote, and Clemens was 65.2%.
Players were notably on edge, with Alex Wood tweeting, “You can’t tell the story of baseball without David Ortiz. Congrats to him. But if he can get into the HOF on the first try with a positive test on his resume, then how in G-D’s name do Bonds and Clemens not get in? The system is now officially broken in my eyes.”
Dexter Fowler added, “If the best player to ever play in the @MLB isn’t a HOFer, then is it really a #HOF? @BarryBonds is no doubt a #HOF!”. The vocal Marcus Stroman of the Chicago Cubs also took a public stance by tweeting, “Clemens HAS to be in as well. Without Bonds and Clemens…the Hall of Fame loses a ton of credibility. That’s just fact. That’s my honest opinion. I don’t care how y’all take it. Lol, have a blessed Tuesday evening, world!”
Curt Schilling’s support expectedly dropped after finishing 16 votes shy in 2021. Many voters chose not to back the right-hander due to his hateful remarks in retirement toward diversity.
Schilling asked the Hall to remove him from this year’s voting, but he remained an option. He was named on 58.6% of ballots, down from 71.1% last year.
Also falling off the ballot was Sammy Sosa, who is only one of five players to have accrued 600+ homers, as he finished with 609 when he retired in 2007, yet only garnered 18.5% of the vote.
Per baseball reference, if the tandem retired in 1994 pre-PED era(1995-2004), here’s what their career metrics would look like:
Bonds – 66.2 WAR, 157 OPS+, 3 MVPs
Clemens – 71.7 WAR, 147 ERA+, 3 Cy Youngs.
Both are hall of famers, maybe not first ballot, but they would get in at some point.
Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, and Sosa, have web eliminated from the BBWAA ballot, but they will be considered again next year by the veterans era committee in December. The panel of Hall members, executives, managers, umpires, and veteran media members will convene in December to consider players who played between 1988-2016 and are no longer eligible for BBWAA selection. Akin to the rules of the writers, 75%(12/16) of support is required for entry into Cooperstown. However, admitting will be harder than it looks, for voting breakdowns show that 86% of the “newer” members of the BWAA within the last five years voted for Bonds/Clemens last night.
However in 2014, the Hall of Fame committee voted to reduce the number of years a player can remain eligible on the ballot from 15 to 10, and it came at a time where the duo were in the mid 30’s in terms of percentage. However, the contrast in recent years between the younger generation that was beginning to accept their greatness and the old-heads still holding those grudges reflects slim chances for the poster-boys of the “PED era” to be enshrined any time soon.
62% of “anti-PED voters”, didn’t vote for Ortiz, Bonds or Clemens, but it was the youth’s overwhelming support proved to be enough for Big Papi to get over the threshold.
Among other first-timers on the ballot, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins generated enough support to stay on the ballot.
Rodriguez won three MVPs and hit 696 homers, the fourth-most of all time in 22 years with the Mariners, Rangers, and Yankees, but also has PED use clouding his case. Major League Baseball banned him for the entire 2014 season after violating the league’s drug policy for a second time since 2003. He received 34.3% of the vote, which was less than what Bonds and Clemens received in their first year at 36.2%.
Rollins, a four-time Gold Glove winner and 2008 champion with the Phillies, with appeared on 9.4% of ballots, clearing relegation by 4.5%.
There were however ten one and done players , including but not limited to four-time all-star and World Series champion Tim Hudson, two time CY Young award winner, four-time all-star, and three-time World Series champion Tim Lincecum, as well as World Series champions Mark Teixeira (2009 Yankees) also a five-time gold Glover, and six-time all-star Jonathan Papelbon(2007 Red Sox).
Players that gathered more than 50% support but still fell short were third baseman Scott Rolen (63.2%, up from 52.9%), first baseman Todd Helton (52%, up from 44.9%), and reliever Billy Wagner (51%, up from 46.4%). Outfielder Andruw Jones also made gains, rising to 41.1% from 33.9%. It’s expected that Rolen will be inducted next year, given the traction he’s gained in the past few ballots.
Next year’s ballot will introduce more controversy when Carlos Beltrán joins the list. The nine-time All-Star destined for first-timer status was affected by MLB in the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal before the 2020 season and was let go as manager of the Mets after short couple weeks since getting the job in the 2019 offseason.
The message from the BWAA will resonate with today’s Astros, as superstars with hall of fame potential in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman were all part of that 2017 scandal.
Beltrán is likely to be joined on the ballot by John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Francisco Rodriguez, all of who are expected to be one-and-done players.
MARVS HOF ballot:
In: David Ortiz(77.9%)
Need 75% to get in.
You can select up to 10 players.