Red Sox News: David Ortiz leading early Hall of Fame ballot results
Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz is on pace for the Hall of Fame
David Ortiz is eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and the former Boston Red Sox star might not need to wait long to get the call to Cooperstown based on the early ballot results.
Hall of Fame tracker Ryan Thibodaux recently revealed updated results based on the 38 public ballots that had been submitted by that point. While this accounts for just under 10 percent of the vote, the early returns are favorable for Ortiz.
Big Papi leads the way so far with 81.6% of the known votes. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame requires 75% of the votes so even if support for him dwindles a bit, he’s still in a good position.
Ortiz is widely considered to be the greatest designated hitter ever and one of MLB’s best clutch performers. He hit .286 with a .931 OPS, 541 home runs and 1768 RBI during his 20-year career. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, seven-time Silver Slugger, three-time champion and a World Series MVP.
His outstanding accomplishments should make him a lock for Cooperstown. Voters once held a bias against the DH but that stigma has been eliminated by the induction of Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines.
While Ortiz should be an obvious name, he’s still going to be missing from several ballots. Since this is his first year on the ballot, some voters might exclude him in favor of those who are running out of time. They may assume Ortiz will get enough support without their vote, at least enough to remain on the ballot until next year when they can consider them again.
There will also be those who use the circumstantial evidence connecting Ortiz to performance-enhancing drugs as an excuse to leave him off their ballot. Ortiz was among the names leaked from a supposedly anonymous survey in 2003 that MLB admitted includes several false-positives or inconclusive results. They never bothered to re-test since the evidence they had was more than sufficient to confirm that baseball needed drug testing, which was the point of the survey.
We’ll never know if Ortiz was among the disputed results. Here’s what we do know – Ortiz spent the vast majority of his Red Sox career in the time period after MLB started cracking down on PEDs and he never failed a test. You’re telling me that other superstars such as Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez served suspensions for using PEDs but Ortiz somehow found a way to avoid getting caught? If anyone is using that flimsy logic for refusing to vote for Ortiz, I question if they even deserve a vote.
Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, one of the poster children for the PED era, is currently hovering over the required threshold with 78.9% of the vote. The Rocket would be an obvious candidate if it weren’t for his tainted past. Based on these early results, voters might be relaxing on their anti-PED stance. Or there might be voters who believe that forcing a suspected user to sweat it out for a decade on the ballot if punishment enough. This is the tenth year on the ballot for Clemens, his final chance to get in. If Clemens or Barry Bonds get in this year, there’s no more excuses for omitting anyone for PED-related reasons when they never failed a test.
Ortiz still has a long way to go with over 90% of ballot unaccounted for but the early results are promising. If he doesn’t make the cut this year, he’s getting enough support to suggest he won’t be waiting much longer. The ballot should be less crowded next year, with several players either getting inducted this year or losing eligibility, which should lead to more votes for Ortiz if he’s not already enshrined.