The 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class was represented by only Boston Red Sox legend, David Ortiz. Ortiz finished his career with a .286 batting average, 541 home runs, 10 All-Star appearances, three World Series rings and a handful of other playoff achievements. A very successful career from Ortiz, filled with very memorable and clutch moments that Boston fans will remember forever. Ortiz got voted in first ballot, receiving 77.9% of the vote, another fine achievement itself. This raises some questions though. Ortiz was primarily a designated hitter over his twenty-year playing career, having only played 278 out of his 2408 games at first base.
Fellow DH Edgar Martinez, who got into the hall in his 10th and final year on the ballot played 592 games in the field and he had trouble getting in because he was considered a DH and that wasn’t enough to get into the hall. Luckily, Edgar refused to lose and with a lot of support, much deservingly got in. If Martinez took all ten years on the ballot to get in because he was a DH then why did Ortiz get in first ballot even though he was the DH a lot more? If you compare the two, a majority of career stats are pretty similar. Ortiz played two more seasons but still spent less time in the field. I find this quite interesting and I guess it just means that Edgar Martinez paved the way for DH’s to get into the hall but, either Edgar should’ve got in a lot sooner or Ortiz shouldn’t of gotten in for another couple years.
Now we get into the real debate: The juicers. The users. The abusers. The steroid era in Major League Baseball from the early 1990s through the early 2000s was one of the most exciting times for the sport and I wish I was around to watch all the home runs that were hit. The biggest star of that era was Barry Bonds. Bonds took over the league and capped it off during the 2001 season when he hit the single season record 73 long balls, a record that’ll probably never be broken. From 2001 through 2004, Bonds won four straight MVP awards and his stats got more insane year by year. The issue with Bonds is that he’s always had steroid use tied to him. He has never admitted to using any kind of performance enhancing drugs or claims that substances he had used were illegal. None the less if you look a picture of Bonds early in his career when he was on the Pirates compare it to a picture of him later in his career on the Giants, you will see some obvious physical improvements that will raise some questions. Also if you look at his stat line, the most impressive numbers came later in his career. It is kinda suspect that someone at the age of 36 hit 73 home runs and if you look at the highlights, none of them were Yankee stadium short-porch home runs, they were home runs that were hit multiple rows up in the seats and far into McCovey cove in San Francisco. Because of all the allegations, this hurt Bond’s chance of getting into the hall of fame as he only received 66% of the vote this year and he is now off the ballot.
Same goes for Pitcher Roger Clemens, one of the most dominant pitchers of the same era. Clemens, a seven time CY young award winner, 354 wins on the bump and 3.12 era was also snubbed on what was his last year on the ballot. It is the same story with Clemens, lots of steroid allegations. It is a shame that both Bonds and Clemens for the time being aren’t going to be in the hall of fame. Both of them have a second chance in the future to get in via the Veterans Committee but it is still unbelievable that the two didn’t make it in the main way. Going back to Ortiz, he is also someone who was plagued with steroid allegations throughout his career. Ortiz’s name was even on a big list of players that had used. This raises another question: Why is Ortiz, a alleged PED user voted first ballot hall of fame when Barry Bonds who is quite frankly the best hitter of all time and Roger Clemens, one of the best pitchers of all time but both also alleged users, not voted in at all? It makes no sense to me at all. let me make this straight, I think all three of these guys should be in the hall but I also think that Bonds and Clemens are both better then Ortiz and deserved to get in before he did and it’s even more preposterous that all of them have allegations but only one is on the hall of fame.
The Hall of Fame is meant for the best players that played the game. Bonds and Clemens are two of the best to ever play and for the time being, aren’t in. They are being cheated and neglected by the voters. I get that steroid use is cheating but at the same time you still need to consider the fact that steroids don’t help you hit a baseball. Bonds still had the incredible talent to see and hit the baseball which is one of the hardest things to do in major sports. Clemens on the other hand still had the talent and mechanics to be able to grip and control his pitches, also a hard thing to do. The voters need to wake up and let the allegations slide. These players changed the game and made it more exciting and they deserve the recognition of being in the hall of fame. Unfortunately, that will be on hold for now. Congratulations to David Ortiz on his success career and his deserving election to the Hall of Fame.
Also, can we just put Pete Rose in the hall at this point?