Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Denied Entry to Hall of Fame

David Ortiz, however, is elected on his first try
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2022 12:17 AM CST
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Denied Entry to Hall of Fame
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz reacts as he crosses home plate after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on June 24, 2015, at Fenway Park in Boston.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

David Ortiz gazed at his phone, his pursed lips revealing nerves rarely seen from one of the game's great clutch hitters. Pedro Martinez's hand rested on Ortiz's shoulder, and Martinez grinned when the good news came through. The former teammates embraced, and Martinez welcomed Ortiz into a rare space in baseball history. Big Papi is bound for Cooperstown—and on the first ballot, too. Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first try Tuesday, while steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry in their final year under consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the AP reports. Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star over 20 seasons mostly with the Boston Red Sox, was named on 77.9% of ballots, clearing the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. He's the 58th player inducted in his first time up for consideration.

“Man, it’s a wonderful honor to be able to get in on my first rodeo,” Ortiz said. Big Papi was among baseball’s most recognizable faces through the 2000s and 2010s. His enormous grin endeared him to fans, but the Dominican’s hulking frame menaced pitchers, especially in the late innings. Three of his 23 career game-ending hits came during Boston's drought-breaking 2004 postseason, when the Red Sox thwarted the rival Yankees and then won their first World Series title in 86 years. Bonds, Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa were all rejected in their 10th and final year on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds is MLB's career home run leader and Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards, but voters denied them the game’s highest honor over allegations they used PEDs. Bonds got 66% of the vote, and Clemens was at 65.2%.

Ortiz also has performance-enhancing drug baggage, but enough voters looked past a reported positive test that came during survey testing in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous. Ortiz has denied using steroids, 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, so what does that tell you?” Ortiz said. 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. As for Clemens, “My family and I put the HOF in the rear view mirror ten years ago,” he said on Twitter. “Hopefully everyone can now close this book and keep their eyes forward focusing on what is really important in life.”

(More David Ortiz stories.)

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