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David Ortiz Says Bonds, Clemens Belong in Hall: 'I Don't Even Compare Myself to Them'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 26, 2022

Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

David Ortiz was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's 2022 class on Tuesday, but notable players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did not receive enough votes to join him.

"I don't even compare myself to them," Ortiz said when describing how difficult it is to believe they are not also Hall of Famers, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. "They did it all."

Joel Sherman of MLB Network and the New York Post noted Ortiz received 77.9 percent of the votes from the writer ballots, surpassing the 75 percent threshold necessary for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

By comparison, Bonds received 66 percent and Clemens received 65.2 percent.

Ortiz earned the distinction after playing for 20 years from 1997 through 2016 for the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. He finished his career with three World Series titles, a World Series MVP, seven Silver Sluggers and 10 All-Star selections.

He is best known for his time on the Red Sox where he became a Boston icon for his ability to come through at the biggest moments. The Red Sox won three World Series titles with him on the roster, including the famous 2004 one that broke a drought that dated back to 1918.

The slugger also led the league with 54 home runs in 2006 while also leading the league in RBI three times, including his final season in 2016.

From a statistical perspective, there is no reason Bonds and Clemens aren't joining him in this year's class.

Bonds is arguably the greatest player in the sport's history and finished his career with seven MVPs, 12 Silver Sluggers, eight Gold Gloves, two batting titles and 14 All-Star nods. Nobody in Major League Baseball history has more home runs than his 762 or more walks than his 2,558.

Clemens was a dominant pitcher who amassed two World Series titles, an MVP, seven Cy Youngs, seven ERA titles and 11 All-Star selections during his career.

Yet both Bonds and Clemens have been implicitly and explicitly connected to performance-enhancing drugs, which has kept them from being seen as Hall of Fame worthy in the eyes of the writers. While neither man ever failed an MLB test, they were linked to PED use through the 2007 Mitchell Report.

"Ortiz also was the subject of steroid speculation after he reportedly tested positive in anonymous survey testing in 2003," Steve Almasy of CNN notably wrote. "MLB's official testing program went in effect the next year and Ortiz never failed."

Alas, it is only Ortiz who was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, though Bonds and Clemens are now eligible—starting with the 2023 class—to be selected by Hall of Famers, executives and veteran media members through the Era Committee system.               

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