The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the results of the Hall of Fame voting on Jan. 25. A recent update from Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs), Twitter’s king of Cooperstown calculators, had David Ortiz (83.2 percent), Barry Bonds (80.4) and Roger Clemens (79) above the 75 percent threshold for induction.
No ballot is perfect. The inclusion of “cheaters” sickens fans or validates their beliefs. The media tries to figure out where lines should be drawn. Sadly, they’re more like battle lines.
It’s a process that’s no longer enjoyable. Both an honor and a major stressor. I do it and dread it.
There are players who failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs. There are players suspected of using.
Sammy Sosa carries the dual stigma of PEDs and a corked bat, but I don’t think he flunked his driving test.
I switched gears a few years ago and began voting for Bonds and Clemens. So did a lot of others. And I never feel good about it. I take two showers after mailing my ballot.
I just added Todd Helton and Scott Rolen. I feel much better about those choices, though I know they’ve got their own detractors.
Andruw Jones and Billy Wagner stayed on my ballot. Curt Schilling disappeared from it. Álex Rodríguez, Manny Ramírez and Gary Sheffield still haven’t appeared on it.
The contradictions leave me and others wide open for criticism, and that’s OK. But I’ll say that multiple positive test results are really hard for me to overlook.
I don’t think it’s necessary to vote for the maximum 10 players every year. It looks forced. I checked only five boxes last time and seven on this ballot, including Ortiz after much deliberation and multiple email and text message exchanges with other voters.
And then I showered.
The New York Times reported that Ortiz tested positive for PEDs in 2003, when violators were supposed to remain anonymous. Ortiz questioned the results and the motivation behind his name being leaked to the press. And then he kept terrorizing opposing pitchers and starring in big games.
He went 20-for-44 (.455) with six doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs and 14 walks in the World Series. Big Papi loved the big stage.
I tend to downplay the notion that Ortiz was one of baseball’s most beloved figures. In Boston for sure, but to imply that it’s universal is a real stretch.
There’s a dugout phone at Camden Yards that would like a minute for rebuttal.
But whatever. I kept studying Ortiz’s numbers and reputation as one of the game’s most feared hitters and voted for him. And I didn’t care that he was a designated hitter. Didn’t stop me from supporting Edgar Martinez.
I felt a lot better voting for Martinez. Didn’t shower that day.
* On this date in 2016, the Orioles claimed infielder Joey Terdoslavich off waivers from the Braves. The Sarasota, Fla., native never played for them and spent only one year in the organization.
On this date in 2013, they re-signed pitcher Stu Pomeranz to a minor league deal after the right-hander made his only three major league appearances the previous summer. He didn’t pitch again due to a back injury that required surgery.
Nothing impactful, but I’d settle for any signing right now.