Barry Bonds And David Ortiz Tested Positive For PEDs | Why Is Ortiz The Only One To Make The Hall?

Barry Bonds was snubbed by the BBWAA again. MLB’s home run king fell short of the 75 percent needed for induction into Cooperstown. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Baseball Writers Association of America’s Baseball Hall of Fame voters are skirting a very thin line of credibility over inherent bias.

The same body of writers (BBWAA) who elected “Big Papi” David Ortiz did not elect Barry Bonds. Ortiz is now the first player to enter the Hall of Fame who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days.

Interestingly, it is the same reason why Bonds lost his last year of eligibility on the ballot.

Big Papi’s Big Moment

Ortiz was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003 during MLB requested drug screenings. Although meant to be confidential, the MLB used the results as the litmus test to create its drug policy.

But MLB came to bat for Ortiz, with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defending him in 2016. He said that testing back then was probably not reliable.

“Big Papi” himself couldn’t believe that players like Bonds and Clemons didn’t get in.

Ten Years Too Late

In their 10th and final year on the ballot, Bonds received 66 percent of the vote, while Clemens was at 65.2. Still, they didn’t receive enough votes and are now off the ballot. In 2014, the BBWAA made a rule change that restricted candidates to 10 years on the ballot from 15.

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Barry Bonds is a victim of perception.

It is the same reason why many in the world immediately felt that Antonio Brown in football canceled his ticket to the Hall when he disrobed and left the field during the Bucs vs. Jets game.

Perception Is Everything

There is an unwritten rule that you have potentially sacrificed your legacy once you are perceived as a problem child or the bad guy leader of a wayward sports era.

However, the facts are that Barry Bonds has more home runs and MVP wins than any other player, and Bonds, after a failed “anonymous” test earlier, never tested positive after MLB implemented its testing protocol and was never suspended by the MLB for a positive test.

The numbers don’t lie in relation to his change in performance before and after his alleged usage.

The Talented Mr. Bonds

In Bonds’ first 13 seasons between 1986-1998, he averaged .290/32HRs/93RBIs. These were the years that Bonds is believed to have been clean.

By 1998, Bonds averaged .328/49HRs/105RBIs, hitting one home run every 8.4 at-bats, and within six years he had his best season, hitting .362, with an OBP of .609 and hitting .812 with 45 homeruns in 373 at-bats while striking out only 41 times.

Barry Bonds also won seven MVPs, while no other player has more than three. However, Bonds does have another way into the Hall: The Veterans Committees.

Not Over Yet

Last December, the Early Baseball Era committee selected Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler, while the Golden Days Era committee tabbed Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva and Gil Hodges as Hall of Famers in the 2022 class.

The Today’s Game committee will vote at the Winter Meetings this coming December.

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“The Today’s Game Committee (“The Committee”) shall refer to the electorate that considers retired Major League Baseball players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), along with managers, umpires and executives, whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from the 1988-2016 era,” says the Baseball Hall of Fame website.

Still Hope

“The Today’s Game Committee shall consist of 16 members, comprised of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives, and veteran media members.”

Twelve votes are needed for induction, so Bonds and many others aren’t out of contention yet.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.