David Ortiz played his final Major League Baseball game on October 2, 2016. Ortiz’s final season was one of the best final seasons any offensive player has ever produced. Truly, Ortiz’s 2016 season was unreal, .315/.401/.620 with a 163 wRC+, 38 home runs, and 127 RBIs in 151 games in his age-40 season. For Ortiz’s career, in 20 seasons spent with the Minnesota Twins, and most notably, the Boston Red Sox, he racked up a slash line of .286/.380/.552, a wRC+ of 140, 541 home runs, and 1,768 RBIs in 10,091 plate appearances. Ortiz possessed the keen ability to hit for average, get on base at an elite rate, and hit for power. Ortiz never hit less than 23 home runs in his 14-year career in Boston.
The Numbers Are There
It is simple, David Ortiz has put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers. If you look at his numbers against Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, the numbers are relatively comparable. Martinez edges out Ortiz nearly everywhere aside from slugging percentage, as Ortiz hit the stated above 541 home runs compared to Martinez’s 309. The struggle for someone like Edgar Martinez was never that he could not hit, he can hit, we see the numbers. The issue was always that he spent a majority of his career as a designated hitter and hardly played defense. Defense clearly plays a major factor in Hall of Famer voters’ minds, as it took till the 10th and final ballot before Martinez was enshrined in Cooperstown. Edgar Martinez finally getting into the Hall will make it much easier for someone like Ortiz to hear his name called, yet, for Ortiz, there will always be another factor hanging over his head.
Alleged Performance-Enchaning Drug Use
The New York Times reported in 2003, with anonymous sources, that Ortiz was named, amongst 100 players that test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The testing was conducted during spring training. Testing for PEDs was not formally implemented until the 2004 season. Ortiz, during a 2009 press conference denied the allegations. Ortiz blamed various vitamins and supplements for the positive test in 2003.
Interestingly enough, commissioner Rob Manfred, in 2016, stated it was actually a possibility that Ortiz never actually tested positive in 2003, due to inconclusive testing. Manfred also believes, due to the sketchy nature of the testing, it should not go against Ortiz’s baseball legacy, seeing as, since 2004, Ortiz never once tested positive for any performance-enhancing drugs. The truth of the matter is we’ll truly never know about that 2003 test, but like Manfred did state, during a rigorous testing period, beginning in 2004, David Ortiz never tested positive. The same could also be said for Barry Bonds, and look how long he has been kept from baseball immortality.
The Fact of the Matter…
Truly, as we break it down, there are steroid users already in the Hall of Fame, there are racists, men that have physically and sexually abused people, they’re in there, we see their plaques, we revere them, and really, that’s a major problem in and of itself. The fact of the matter is that if someone like Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer, David Ortiz should be a Hall of Famer, now, it most likely will not be on the first ballot, but David Ortiz had a Hall of Fame résumé, and his plaque should hang in the same Hall as Edgar Martinez, and friend, countryman, and teammate, Pedro Martinez.
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