Retired Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz believes the rival New York Yankees may have played a role in his name getting leaked to the New York Times in 2009, when the newspaper published a list of players who'd previously failed performance-enhancing drug tests.
"What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?" he said. "The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it."
Ortiz went on to say that even all these years later, he's never received additional information about the apparent failed test in 2003.
"Everybody who got caught...all of them were told what they bought, what they used, everything," he said. "But David Ortiz. Nobody came to me after; nobody came to me before. Nobody came to me ever, to tell me that I tested positive for any kind of steroids."
In 2015, the Dominican Republic native, who earned 10 All-Star selections and won three World Series titles with the Red Sox, told Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe he worried the situation impacted him enough to hurt his chances to reach Cooperstown, New York.
"If one day I'm up for the Hall of Fame and there are guys who don't vote for me because of that, I will call it unfair," Ortiz said.
He seemed to enjoy playing against the Yankees, though. He finished his career with a .303/.394./.567 slash line and 53 home runs in 243 games against the Bronx Bombers.
Last September, Ortiz credited the intense American League East rivalry for helping him develop into one of baseball's most feared sluggers during his time in Boston.
"Our rivalry with the Yankees made me who I am," he wrote on The Players' Tribune. "The intensity of that competition is what I'm gonna miss the most when I'm done. I could wake up in the morning and my body could be feeling like shit, but as soon as the bus pulls up to Yankee Stadium and I see that white fence on the upper deck, I'm like, 'It's on.'"