The National Baseball Hall of Fame will not be inducting any new players in the Class of 2021 after it was announced that zero players received at least 75% of the vote that was needed to get into Cooperstown.
It’s never too early to look towards 2022 and the list of first-year eligible candidates is stacked. Some new names on the ballot are Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, and Mark Teixeira. But the two names that will be getting the most publicity are David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez.
These two would be first-ballot Hall of Famers if you are looking primarily at their numbers. But, the fact of the matter is the question of if they will get 75% of the vote has nothing to do with their numbers. It’s about PEDs.
Both players were included in a 2003 report by the New York Times that unveiled a number of high-profile players who tested positive for PEDs in what was supposed to be anonymous. There are some differences though between Ortiz and Rodriguez’s PED situations.
David Ortiz’s PEDs involvement
Big Papi was one of the names mentioned in the 2003 report who tested positive, but it isn’t really known how big that report will weigh on voters in the next ballot. Ortiz said on WEEI in 2016 that “Nobody came to [him] ever, to tell [him] that [he] tested positive for any kind of steroids.”
Unlike Rodriguez, he never failed a test under Major League Baseball’s official testing program and was actually never suspended for any steroid use.
Alex Rodriguez’s PEDs involvement
Rodriguez’s involvement in PEDs is a lot more public and so there’s more information known of what he did, which will likely be to his detriment. As we all know, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games–the longest PED suspension ever.
The thing that makes it worse for him is he flat out lied to Mike Francesa on WFAN after storming out of the MLB office when he was asked the direct question of if he used steroids or not. Francesa asked, “So you’re guilty, in your mind, of nothing,” and Rodriguez told him, “I feel like I should be there Opening Day.”
Although I’m not a voter, if I had to vote for someone who used PEDs, I would vote for the one that expressed remorse and admitted to cheating because he at least acknowledges how his numbers are not authentic any longer.
In essence, it is clear that Rodriguez cheated and he kept denying it despite there being evidence otherwise. On the other hand, it isn’t clear if Ortiz’s test was a false positive or if it was just a one-time thing (not to condone it by any means), and as I mentioned, he was never punished for anything by the league.
Therefore, Ortiz has a better chance at getting into the Hall of Fame next year than Rodriguez does. Will one get in? Will both get in? Only time will tell.
(Photo: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)
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