Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Should David Ortiz Be In The Hall of Fame?

The other day I noted on our FB page that Ortiz is likely to end his baseball career with the following numbers, should he play next year:
500+ HR
1600+ RBI
600+ 2B
You can also throw in the following two lines:
1100+ Extra base hits
1250+ BB
Should that come to pass, David Ortiz would be only the third player in Major League history to have those numbers. The other two are Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Which, in its own way, is supremely fitting. One man did it clean and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The other used PEDs and may never get in.

So should David Ortiz retire with the above numbers, should he get in the Hall of Fame?

First, let's remove the "No DH" argument from this discussion. The DH is here. It is a recognized position. And punishing a player for that is like not voting for a pitcher in the MVP race. Which is to say, it's stupid. So, forget he is a DH.

On the numbers alone, does David Ortiz have the resume?

To the above stats, add in nine All-Star Games, the 2004 ALCS MVP, the 2013 World Series MVP and three World Series rings. Also add in the 2005 AL Hank Aaron award for best hitter and six Silver Slugger awards. Never mind the clutch hits year-in and year-out.

I would say that, on the numbers alone, that David Ortiz should make the Hall of Fame.

But it is never that easy, is it?

David Ortiz was also named as being on the infamous 2003 list of MLB players who tested positive for one (or more) of a number of substances in the "Survey Test" that ultimately forced the MLBPA to agree to drug-testing in Major League Baseball. And in a time where players like Bonds and Roger Clemens may very well never be voted into the Hall of Fame, a time where a current player like A-Rod will also likely never be in the Hall of Fame because of his admitted PED use, why would it be any different for David Ortiz?

Allow me to be the Devil's Advocate for a moment.

The 2003 list of substances...no one knows exactly what was on that list of substances beyond the fact that it was more than just steroids or what we commonly refer to as PEDs nowadays. Widely thought to be on that list as well as steroids were recreational drugs and amphetamines.

Amphetamines should be of particular note because they have been pervasive in baseball for decades. The infamous "greenies" in Jim Bouton's book Ball Four were taken by countless players, including many Hall of Famers.

So could David Ortiz have been using steroids or another PED? Yes, that is possible. But it is also equally possible he took a stimulant that was accepted as a part of baseball culture or a substance that was added to a supplement without his knowledge.