Big Papi Enters the Hall of Fame

Alexander Bingham, Sports Editor

When the MLB announced its 2022 Hall of Fame class, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz rightfully earned his ticket to Cooperstown. Ortiz cleared the required 75% threshold amongst the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) to become the 58th player of the 340 elected in his first year of eligibility. However, several other of the games’ greats like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens failed to clear the threshold in their tenth and final year on the ballot over concerns with them as icons of the league’s steroid era.

Still, both Bonds and Clemens are more than qualified. Bonds, the all-time home run leader, has a solid case to be named the greatest MLB player of all time with seven MVP awards and a career 162.7 wins above replacement (WAR), fourth of all time, on his resume. Clemens is regarded as one of the best pitchers of all time with seven Cy Young awards and eleven all star selections. The BBWAA specifies that voting for the hall of fame is based on “… the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” These fairly loose qualifications for voting leave plenty of room for the interpretation of the individual voters. In turn, voters for the Hall of Fame have pointed to integrity and character to disqualify players such as Bonds and Clemens for their use of steroids. However, many fans are calling for the induction of these players into the hall, as in the 1990s, the use of steroids was widespread and not even tested by the League. Other players such as Alex Rodriguez, who missed out on this year’s hall of fame voting, were left off the ballot by many voters, as his steroid use occurred in the period that the League tested and reprimanded steroid-using players.

Ortiz led a career that endeared him to Bostonians and other MLB fans alike.

It’s important to note that Ortiz allegedly tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in a 2003 test; however, that test was meant to be a confidential way to measure if it was necessary to conduct official PED testing the next year. From the results, it was hard to distinguish if Ortiz had a false positive or if said positive came from legal, over-the- counter drugs. The league’s commissioner Rob Manfred claimed that the inconclusive test should not cloud Ortiz’s legacy. Ortiz tested negative every year in the league’s official testing program.

Regardless, Ortiz had an unforgettable impact on the game and its viewers. From his speech to fans after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, to countless moments of coming through in clutch, Ortiz led a career that endeared him to Bostonians and other MLB fans alike. While being a lovable and dominant player on the field, Ortiz still plays a large role in mentoring Big Papi Enters the Hall of Fame young players both on the Red Sox and other teams. “I have been an advisor to many guys like [Juan] Soto, [Fernando] Tatis Jr. Vlad [Guerrero Jr.],” he told NBC Sports Boston. “To me, everybody counts, everybody matters … It’s not about having the greatest talent. It’s about how you use your talent with people.” Now, Ortiz enters the hall of fame leaving behind a lasting legacy with the many players and fans that watched the charismatic clutch slugger play.

This piece also appears in our February 2022 print edition.