This is what they warned us about. The lasting effects of the “Steroid Era” are glaring strongly from the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballots. Rafael Palmero will no longer be on the ballot following an under 5% showing this year. He hit over 500 home runs and had over 3,000 hits. Those are the classic benchmarks for determining a “Hall of Fame worthy” career.
Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens … the names associated with PEDs or steroids are falling fast despite their gaudy numbers. Yes, those numbers are arguably bigger due to their intake of the substances and that’s why they aren’t sniffing the Hall.
So it begs a two-part question for Red Sox Nation: A) Is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer, knowing he was linked to PEDs by being named on the Mitchell Report in 2007 (linked to anonymous testing in 2003)? And B) If yes, does he go in on the first ballot?
Personally, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame and his credentials make him a no-doubt first ballot inductee. Ortiz is first in nearly every statistical category for designated hitters and there is no question he’s had a Hall worthy career – surpassing 400 home runs, 2,000 hits and being dubbed the best at his position ever. Not to mention his postseason heroics, which have brought Boston three World Championships in his 11 seasons with the Red Sox. Big Papi is a nine-time All-Star, has won six Silver Slugger Awards and most recently won the 2013 World Series MVP with a ridiculous six-game series.
His name being linked to illegal substances has never been proven, although many would say there’s a likely chance he did juice up. But here’s my argument: He has never tested positive in a drug test (outside of what the Mitchell Report says – and remember it lists players names and claims they took “anonymous” drug tests). Ortiz also has another few years left in him, meaning he won’t be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting until after 2020.
That is a long time from now in terms of how writers will begin voting for suspected PED users. Ortiz will benefit from a change in thinking as voters begin to feel pressure to add players like Bonds and Clemens, who allegedly took PEDs but had “Hall of Fame” numbers before then anyway. If voters add a player or two or five who are suspected users, that’s good news for the likes of David Ortiz.
He will also go on the ballot around the same time as players like Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and others, who have good standing with the media. It seems silly, but writers could be swayed to vote more/other players in on the same ballot simply because they are “feeling good” about the ballot.
The bottom line is Ortiz is a HOFer in my book. What say you, Sox Nation?
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