David Ortiz was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first turn on the ballot, while steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were denied entry to Cooperstown in their final year under consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Ortiz, a clutch slugger and 10-time All-Star over 20 seasons mostly with the Boston Red Sox, was named on 77.9% of ballots unveiled Tuesday night, clearing the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. He’s the fourth primary designated hitter voted into the Hall.
Big Papi was among baseball’s most recognizable faces through the 2000s and 2010s. His enormous grin endeared him to fans, but the Dominican’s hulking frame menaced pitchers, especially in the late innings. He had 23 game-ending hits, including three during the 2004 postseason while Boston ended an 86-year World Series drought.
He’s also the fourth player born in the Dominican Republic, joining Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero.
Ortiz also has PED baggage, but enough voters chose to ignore a positive test that came during survey testing in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous. Ortiz has denied using steroids, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said in 2016 “I think it would be wrong” to exclude him from the Hall of Fame based on that lone test.