David Ortiz Selected to 2022 Baseball HOF Class; Barry Bonds Falls Short

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 25, 2022

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Former Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz reacts before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 26, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The National Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome David Ortiz as part of its class of 2022.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America's decisions were announced on Tuesday, and the official induction ceremony will occur on Sunday, July 24 from Cooperstown, New York.

A player needs to land on 75 percent of total writer ballots to get in.

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Prior to the announcement, Ryan Thibodeaux's Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker, which compiles tallies for all publicly known ballots, had Ortiz earning 83.3 percent of the vote. Barry Bonds (77.8 percent) and Roger Clemens (76.8 percent) also met that threshold.

However, as ESPN's David Schoenfield wrote, "the percentages for the pre-result ballots are always higher and steroid-associated players usually take an even bigger hit."

Therefore, any players who got more than half the votes such as Scott Rolen (70.6 percent), Curt Schilling (61.7 percent), Todd Helton (56.7 percent) and Billy Wagner (51.2 percent) appeared to be long shots to get in.

In sum, it appeared to be a matter of whether Ortiz, Bonds and Clemens would make it into the Hall.

In the end, only Ortiz made it to Cooperstown. He'll join a HOF Class of 2022 that includes Buck O'Neil, Bud Fowler, Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, and Tony Oliva, who were all elected through the Era Committee System.

Ortiz made 10 All-Star Games during his 20-year career. He's a seven-time Silver Slugger who won the 2004, 2007 and 2013 World Series with the Boston Red Sox.

The left-handed designated hitter had a dominant four-year stretch from 2004-2007, posting a 162-game average of 44 home runs and 135 RBI while managing a .304 batting average and 1.024 OPS, per Baseball Reference. He won the Silver Slugger and finished top four in the AL MVP voting each season.

Ortiz played the first six years of his career with the Minnesota Twins, who released him after the 2002 season. The Red Sox signed him as a free agent in January 2003, and the rest is history for a slugger who finished his career with 541 home runs, including 38 during his final MLB season in 2016 in his age-40 campaign.

The most notable Hall of Fame omissions were Bonds and Clemens.

Bonds' 22-year career included seven National League MVP awards, 14 All-Star Game appearances, 12 Silver Sluggers and eight Gold Gloves. He is Major League Baseball's career home run leader (762) as well as its single-season leader (73, in 2001). Bonds' 1.422 OPS in 2004 also stands as an MLB single-season record.

Bonds began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, and he stayed there until 1992. In between, Bonds led Pittsburgh to three NL East titles (1990-1992). He won the NL MVP in 1990 and 1992. After the latter season, Bonds left in free agency for the Giants, a team that his father (Bobby Bonds) and godfather (Willie Mays) both played for. Bonds led the Giants to the 2002 NL pennant, its first league title in 13 years.

Clemens' 24-year MLB stint consisted of six American League Cy Young award wins, the 1986 AL MVP, 11 All-Star Game appearances, seven ERA titles. The two-time Triple Crown winner led the majors in strikeouts from 1996-1998. He finished his career with 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and a 3.12 ERA.

Clemens was part of five AL pennant-winning teams and earned the 1999 and 2000 World Series titles with the New York Yankees. He played a decade with the Boston Red Sox before spending two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, five with the Yankees and three with the Houston Astros before capping his career back with New York in 2007.

On paper alone, both Bonds and Clemens are clear first-ballot Hall of Famers.

However, both were linked to steroid use through the 2007 Mitchell Report. Neither man ever failed an MLB test.

Of note, Bonds told a grand jury in 2004 that he used steroids but said trainer Greg Anderson told him that he was taking flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for arthritis.

Clemens' former trainer, Brian McNamee, said he injected his ex-client with steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens denied the allegations.

Steroids have been banned in baseball since 1991, but the league did not begin testing until 2003. Neither Bonds nor Clemens ever failed an MLB drug test.

The PED links have led to both men being held out of the Hall of Fame despite their resumes. Prominent baseball writers such as Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy and more have left them off their ballots.

Bonds and Clemens' future Hall of Fame fates will now rest in the hands of the Era Committee system. Players are eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA for their first 10 years on the ballot. Bonds and Clemens have now been shut out of Cooperstown for a decade now.

Ortiz's election avoids a second straight year where the BBWAA did not elect anyone into the Hall of Fame.