Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was the lone player to earn induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday in balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Ortiz received 307 of the 394 votes (77.9 percent) in his first season on the ballot. That was slightly above the needed 75 percent to earn induction into Cooperstown.
Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star with the Boston Red Sox. He compiled 541 homers and 1,768 RBIs in 20 seasons with the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002) and Boston (2003-16).
The first baseman/designated hitter known as “Big Papi” won three World Series titles with the Red Sox.
“This is what every player dreams of,” the 46-year-old Ortiz said from the Dominican Republic on the MLB Network’s broadcast.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Left Out
Outfielder Barry Bonds and right-hander Roger Clemens both fell short in their 10th and final seasons on the writers’ ballots. Bonds received 66 percent of the votes and Clemens got 65.2 percent.
The candidacies of both Clemens and Bonds have been controversial due to suspicions they used illegal performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.
Bonds is the sport’s all-time leader with 762 homers and won a record seven NL MVP awards over his 22 seasons (1986-2007). He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-92) and San Francisco Giants (1993-2007).
Clemens owns a record seven Cy Young Awards and went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts and 46 shutouts during 24 seasons from 1984-2007. He pitched for the Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-1998), Yankees (1999-2003, 2007) and Houston Astros (2004-06).
Clemens released a statement on Twitter shortly after the balloting was announced.
“My family and I put the HOF in the rear view mirror ten years ago,” he wrote. “I didn’t play baseball to get into the HOF. I played to make a generational difference in the lives of my family. Then focus on winning championships while giving back to my community and the fans as well.
“It was my passion. I gave it all I had, the right way, for my family and for the fans who supported me. I am grateful for that support. I would like to thank those who took the time to look at the facts and vote for me. Hopefully everyone can now close this book and keep their eyes forward focusing on what is really important in life. All love!”
Hey y’all! I figured I’d give y’all a statement since it’s that time of the year again. My family and I put the HOF in the rear view mirror ten years ago. I didn’t play baseball to get into the HOF. I played to make a generational difference in the lives of my family. (Thread)
— Roger Clemens (@rogerclemens) January 25, 2022
A-Rod Falls Well Short
Meanwhile, infielder Alex Rodriguez received 34.3 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season due to a suspension for violating the MLB policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez ranks fourth in major league history with 696 homers and 2,086 RBIs over 22 seasons from 1994-2016. He was a three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star.
Infielder Scott Rolen received 63.2 percent of the vote and right-hander Curt Schilling got 58.6 on his final time on the ballot.
Schilling dropped from receiving 71.1 percent of the vote in 2021. After falling short last year, he requested his name be taken off the ballot but the BBWAA refused to do so.
Schilling was a six-time All-Star who went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts, 83 complete games and 20 shutouts in 20 seasons from 1988-2007 with the Baltimore Orioles (1988-90), Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-03) and Boston Red Sox (2004-07). He walked just 711 batters in 3,261 innings.
He was twice runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award (2001-02) and also finished second for the AL Cy Young Award in 2004. Schilling won more than 20 games in each of those three seasons, including a career-best 23 for the Diamondbacks in 2002.
Schilling was a big-game pitcher in the postseason, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and two shutouts in 19 starts. He was World Series co-MVP with Randy Johnson in 2001 when Arizona defeated the Yankees in seven games. He also was part of two title teams with the Red Sox (2004, 2007).
Schilling wasn’t as contentious as a year ago and the statement he released on Twitter was gracious toward Ortiz, his former Boston teammate.
“Every year the conversation revolves around who didn’t get in. Like all star voting, who got cheated. I say it every year and especially this year, focus on who did get in. @davidortiz deserved a 1st ballot induction! Congratulations my friend you earned it! #bigpapiHoF”
Every year the conversation revolves around who didn’t get in. Like all star voting, who got cheated. I say it every year and especially this year, focus on who did get in. @davidortiz deserved a 1st ballot induction! Congratulations my friend you earned it! #bigpapiHoF
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) January 25, 2022
Rolen was a seven-time All-Star during a 17-year career (1996-2012) with four teams.
Ortiz was just an average player with the Twins before moving over to the Red Sox, where he won titles in 2004, 2007 and 2013.
“Once I got to Boston, I went with the mentality to learn,” Ortiz said. “I knew I had the talent. But if you don’t have the right people around you to bring your ability to the highest level, it’s never going to happen for you. I needed the opportunity to show what I was capable of.”
Ortiz will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 24 along with six players selected in December by various committees: Negro League legend Buck O’Neil, Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, former Brooklyn Dodgers slugger and New York Mets manager Gil Hodges and Black player Bud Fowler.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)