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David Ortiz Elected to the Hall of Fame, Other Former Twins Fall Short


Twins Daily Contributor

David Ortiz had a legendary career, but unfortunately, his best years were outside the Twins organization. He found out that he would be enshrined in Cooperstown on Tuesday night. 

 

Ortiz began his big-league career with the Twins back in 1997 after the team acquired him in the 1996 offseason from the Mariners organization. Over the next six seasons, he became a regular in the Twins line-up, and he helped the Twins win the division for the first time since 1991. During his Twins tenure, he hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. He wasn't on a path to Cooperstown, and Terry Ryan faced a tough decision.

Ortiz would start getting expensive through the arbitration process with an expected salary close to $2 million. The Twins front office had multiple reasons for non-tendering Ortiz. Matt LeCroy was an adequate replacement for Ortiz as the team's DH. Also, the club wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. Minnesota was being cheap, but there is no guarantee Ortiz would have followed his HOF path if he stayed in Minnesota. 

After signing with Boston, Ortiz immediately transferred himself into one of the game's best hitters. He finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in his first season outside the Twins organization. Over the next 14 seasons, he hit .290/.386/.570 (.956) with 483 home runs. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, a 7-time Silver Slugger winner, and he finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in five straight seasons. 

October is where Oritz shined as he led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He played 85 postseason games in his career and posted a .947 OPS with 41 extra-base hits. Ortiz won the ALCS MVP as part of the Red Sox's remarkable comeback over the Yankees in 2004. In 2013, he won World Series MVP as he went 11-for-16 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in the series. He was truly an October legend. 

Even with his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz wasn't seen as a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, but voters were able to look past Ortiz's steroid ties. 

Congratulations to Ortiz on a Hall of Fame career!

Other Twins On the Ballot
While other former Twins were on the ballot, many didn't have a chance at being elected in the current cycle. In fact, many were in danger of falling off a crowded ballot. Torii Hunter made his second appearance on the ballot, and the two halves of his career make him an intriguing candidate. He received 21 votes (5.3%) and will remain on the ballot.  Joe Nathan is one of the best relievers of all time, but relievers are historically underrepresented in Cooperstown. Nathan finished with 17 votes (4.3%) and fell three votes shy of staying on the ballot

The other former Twins on the ballot were expected to be one-and-done candidates. Justin Morneau was a great player, especially to the current generation of Twins fans. Morneau was named on five ballots (1.3%).  AJ Pierzynski played many years at a grueling defensive position, but he doesn't have the resume of other enshrined catchers and he received two votes. 

HOF Class Includes Oliva and Kaat
The Minnesota Twins will be well represented in Cooperstown this summer. Former Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat found out last month that they will be part of the current Hall of Fame class. It was a long time coming for both players as they had waited decades and multiple votes before finally getting the call. Following his election, the Twins also announced that Jim Kaat will become the ninth member of the organization to have his number retired. That ceremony will take place this summer at Target Field.

Bonds and Clemens Question
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens entered their tenth and final year on the ballot with their best chance at enshrinement. Leading into the ballot announcement, both players were tracking at over 75% of the announced ballots, but that was no guarantee that they would get the famous call from Cooperstown. 

There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history. However, the steroid cloud has surrounded them, which has prevented them from being elected by the writers. Bonds finished second behind Ortiz on the 2022 ballot with 260 votes (66.0%). Clemens was three votes behind Bonds (65.2%).  Now, both players will have to wait for their chance on the committee era ballots.

What are your thoughts about this year's Hall of Fame voting? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.  

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No matter whether they cheated or not, I believe Clemens and Bonds should also be in. They were simply too good at baseball to not be enshrined, especially given some of the questionable morality of many others in the Hall.

*shrugs*

But hey, the upside in so many falling off the ballot this year is that it likely paves a smoother path for Mauer to gobble up votes when he's eligible in two years.

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Congratulations to David Ortiz. He was quite a hitter and very excellent in the post season for the Boston Red Sox. Sadly, his acceptance will be forever connected to the final rejection of Barry Bonds by the writers which is a stain on baseball. I was never a Bonds fan (Twins forever) but Barry never tested positive and when he got "bigger" everyone jumped all over him, maybe justifiably, yet Ortiz was allowed to slide.  Bonds  magic with a bat was consistent from ASU until his last contract expired and nobody allowed him onto the field again despite the fact that he was still one of the best players in the game. Correa is a free agent and carries the garbage can banging on his resume. Can you imagine that he never gets an offer at any price. I know Bonds was at the end of his career and it is a fairly lame comparison but this vote brings back some sad circumstances: Bud Selig the Hall of Fame commissioner, who relished the PED use; Andre Dawson, who was shut out by baseball, signing a blank contract with Chicago Cubs because he wanted to play and no team would offer him a contract; and then no team in baseball was interested in the best free agents in the game from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s (the collusion scam which likely allowed the Twins to win two World Series which I enjoyed). Bonds was not nice to writers, Ortiz was and the entire debacle of inconsistency by the writers is bad for baseball. I loved watching David Ortiz and would like to celebrate his election without other thoughts, but I can't do that under the circumstances.

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Here's to Big Papi and the Hall of Roid in the Hall of Shame in the Hall of Fame. He deserves it. He represents them all well, and is barely stained! And theTwins' braintrust let him go......

They are really missing the boat on Nathan. Not even 5% of the votes. Shameful from another angle. Still, fans should never have votes for the HOF. The Hall isn't a popularity contest. Fans already ruin the All Star voting. That's enough damage.

And do you really need an official test for Bonds? I mean really, heads don't swell twice normal size on their own! He should get a reward for having all the right chemicals to avoid official test detection. That is a real talent.

 

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13 minutes ago, Brandon said:

I think the Fans should vote on the hall of fame.  the writers are pretentious and do not fairly or equitably represent us.  

No way. then you'd have a Hall of all Yankees and Red Sox players and no one else. Let the players vote who should/shouldn't go in

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One of the all-time mistakes in Twins history.  Someone has to say it.

They might as well have traded Kirby Puckett after his rookie year.

Yes, Ortiz had injury issues.  Yes, he had no real position at a time when being a DH was for the physically declined.

But, if you actually go back, and study the games, Ortiz had big-time ABs that won games for the Twin, tough games, games they would normally lose.  It was Ortiz who came through, on the road, against good pitching.

It should not have happened like it did.  Small market, small minds.

Twins had inklings he was a winner and never took those in.

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There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history? Can’t believe someone hasn’t already questioned this. A cheater that gets an A+ is not better than non cheaters that get a C+. Cheaters usually get an F, or worse, expelled. 

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36 minutes ago, Sean.h said:

There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history? Can’t believe someone hasn’t already questioned this. A cheater that gets an A+ is not better than non cheaters that get a C+. Cheaters usually get an F, or worse, expelled. 

What if the cheater that got an A+ was already an A and just had an inferiority disorder, and for some reason was still obsessed to be even better? So without cheating he was an A, and with cheating was and A+. A non cheating A would still be better than a non cheating C+, wouldn't he?

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Congratulations to Big Pappi. As much as I dislike Barroid and Clemens they should eventually be in the HOF. I guess it is appropriate that the voting is tarnished just like their final numbers were. I'm a small hall guy. 

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Congrats to Big Pappi, for being a likeable cheater, that is way better than an un-likeable cheater.  (I think that is a great lesson to teach the youth, if you are going to cheat do it while smiling and arse kissing the high and mighty media)

The idiots that vote for the hall of fame are an embarrassment to baseball.

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13 hours ago, mnfireman said:

They shouldn't have to, neither failed a test. Media didn't like either of them.

obviously many feel different than you do and I suspect that they know more details and any of us.  Don't worry, they will get there, but i shed no tears for them.

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First ballot for Ortiz shows the voters no longer care about the DH thing at all.  For a long time, DH guys were never in because voters felt they were not real players as all they did was hit.  If they were a DH most of their career they would be dogged for it.  I felt Ortiz would get in, but was not thinking first ballot. 

I agree with the article that Ortiz may not have had same HOF path if Twins kept him.  Not only did he hit well during season, but he was a post season monster that may not have happened in the Twins line up, but maybe would have.  I wanted Twins to keep Ortiz and felt he was going to be great when he could stay healthy, he kept having hand and wrist issues with Twins, holding him back. 

When he was released it was not like every team jumped on him.  From what I recall he was a later signing with Boston, and was not brought in as a starter.  He actually did not get much time at first.  He only played in 128 games, still finished top 5 MVP votes.  He was not a starter to being season, but eventually took over as full time guy.  He split a lot of time between 1b and Dh at that time too. 

Should Twins have kept him, for sure, and I said that at the time.  However, it is not like at the time every team was jumping to bring in Ortiz.  Maybe it was his health, as he never broke the 130 games with Twins, or maybe it was the park, or coaching staff, but he clearly was a different player with Sox. 

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10 hours ago, h2oface said:

What if the cheater that got an A+ was already an A and just had an inferiority disorder, and for some reason was still obsessed to be even better? So without cheating he was an A, and with cheating was and A+. A non cheating A would still be better than a non cheating C+, wouldn't he?

That is a hypothetical. No one knows what they would have accomplished had they not cheated. In any case, a student that is caught cheating on an exam typically gets an F (or worse expelled). They don't get commended on the hypothetical case where they might have gotten an A had they not cheaten. We should not treat statistics gained from cheaters as being comparable to non-cheaters. 

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Michael Clair wrote a great piece yesterday(1/25/22)  for MLB.com about those players whose names were on the 2022 HOF ballot, but who were one and done. He pointed out how good those particular one and done players actually were. He included Justine Morneau and Joe Nathan. Did you know Nathan had the 8th most saves in major league history. He was a consistently dominant closer and led the majors (including two Hall of famer closers, Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman) in saves between the years 04-09.   And Morneau won an MVP and an NL batting title and Gold Gloves and was a feared slugger for years with the stats to back up Morneau's reputation.  He also include AJ and mentioned he was known for having a big mouth and for being part of one of the most one-sided trades in ML history. I loved this article. 

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Congratulations to Mr. Ortiz. I agree with Old Twins Cap. It is hard for me, a fan since 1969, to think of a bigger mistake than trading Ortiz. Ortiz’s criticisms of Kelly following the trade were spot on. Ryan is obviously to blame as well. This isn’t 20/20 hindsight. I complained about that trade back in the old days of Fastball and the other Twins Fans websites that eventually paved the way for Twins Daily. 

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2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

obviously many feel different than you do and I suspect that they know more details and any of us.  Don't worry, they will get there, but i shed no tears for them.

I agree I shed no tears for either of these two.

But it is things like this that baseball continues to do that drives me further and further away from the game. Lets put David Ortiz in the HOF on the first ballot with suspicion of PEDS (it isn't lost on me he played along one of the biggest PED cheaters in the history of the game) but keep out some of the players that actually brought fans to to the game after what happened in 1994. While also putting players like Pudge, Piazza or Bagwell in and claiming some moral high ground, Now this labor dispute, on top of the stupid shifts.

 

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21 minutes ago, Sean.h said:

That is a hypothetical. No one knows what they would have accomplished had they not cheated. In any case, a student that is caught cheating on an exam typically gets an F (or worse expelled). They don't get commended on the hypothetical case where they might have gotten an A had they not cheaten. We should not treat statistics gained from cheaters as being comparable to non-cheaters. 

I watched these guys when they first came up before any of the steroid use and they were extremely good even then. I don't know (or condone) why they started using but I imagine it was as they started to age a bit it was a way to "bounce back" after a game. I also imagine they were sold on the idea by smooth talking reps. Yes it was wrong, but it was never proven, neither player ever tested positive. IMO they belong in the hall. After all we all make bad decisions at some point don't we? In the grand scheme of life, is this that bad of a decision if indeed it really did happen?

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2 hours ago, rv78 said:

The writers should not be voting for HOF candidates. The fans shouldn't either. It should be done by the players. Who better to decide who deserves it than the people who actually played?

Because then it becomes an old boys club where marginal players get in because a bunch of their pals are voting? There's a whole lotta marginal (at best) HoFers who are in because they were Friends of Frankie Frisch who basically stacked and ran the old veteran's committee. It's essentially how Harold Baines got in, and he's simply not deserving (a very good hitter, but never put up a truly great season, and for most of his long career was just a quality starter.

The PED is complicated for a lot of people, and I'm ok with pushing the main culprits off the ballot as we try to get a little better historical context on the whole thing. there are reasonable arguments to put in guys like Bonds & Clemens who were truly great players even before the cloud of PED descended, but the idea that anyone who thinks they cheated and should be excluded is just some moralizing hypocrite is going too far, especially by the people who go on to claim that well, we can't really prove anything. I really don't think  their exclusion has anything to do with whether Bonds was surly with media; it's people honestly trying to square how to handle the PED era, which really was a mess. And if you view it as cheating, which many not unreasonably do, then figuring out that context for something that is supposed to be one of the highest (and last) individual honor you can achieve in the sport isn't always easy.

manny ramirez was one of the most feared hitters of his day, but was also caught using PEDs after a clear rule had been established and testing protocols instituted. He was also a headcase and a pain in the ass who quit on his teams. Alex Rodriguez was the best SS of his generation, combining elite offensive production with excellent defense at a premium position to be one of the game's signature players. He was also caught violating the league's PED rules after they had been clearly delineated and testing was put into place and was suspended for an entire season. How much do you weight the fact that they knowingly and intentionally broke the rules, ones that were installed in part because of players like them? It's simple to say, "meh, who cares, all that matters is the numbers" but simple isn't always right. And if it's just about the numbers, then why have a vote at all? Why not just induct the top 4 players by WAR every year, or some other static metric, or combination of metrics?

Some subjectivity is part of what makes the game and the hall fun. It's part of what expands our minds on how we look at and think about the game as well. It drives innovation and experimentation, and that's good too. How much does leadership matter in a sport like baseball which is the least interactive of any of the "Big Four" sports (football, baseball, basketball, and hockey) but also has the longest season where interpersonal dynamics can have a major impact. we all know that a player who can play multiple positions has additional value because of that positional flexibility. But how much is that worth and how much impact on the team does it have?

I'm here for the arguments about the Hall. Let's never be afraid to have them. But let's be careful of ones where there's a "anyone who thinks that" clause in there...

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11 hours ago, h2oface said:

What if the cheater that got an A+ was already an A and just had an inferiority disorder, and for some reason was still obsessed to be even better? So without cheating he was an A, and with cheating was and A+. A non cheating A would still be better than a non cheating C+, wouldn't he?

Well, sometimes there is a big price to pay for stupidity....What they did was F'n stupid.

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

I agree I shed no tears for either of these two.

But it is things like this that baseball continues to do that drives me further and further away from the game. Lets put David Ortiz in the HOF on the first ballot with suspicion of PEDS (it isn't lost on me he played along one of the biggest PED cheaters in the history of the game) but keep out some of the players that actually brought fans to to the game after what happened in 1994. While also putting players like Pudge, Piazza or Bagwell in and claiming some moral high ground, Now this labor dispute, on top of the stupid shifts.

 

The HOF is not officially MLB.  It is a museum and it is fun.  You remember the old saying the only bad publicity is no publicity.  All the angst and debate keeps the hall in the news and in our discussions.  In reality the hall does not matter.  It does not change the numbers and results.  Bonds still has the 73  HR record (although I keep forgetting and going back to Maris and Ruth) and I had to look up that he had 762 total HRs,  I still remember Ruth and Aaron's numbers. 

Baseball has changed in many ways and I am not pleased with many things, but the hall is less important than pace of game.  When I went to the Braves games in Milwaukee that last 90 - 100 minutes and there was still time for the zoo in the afternoon,   

Baseball needs to work on its image and maybe MLB should be talking to the hall.  But as I have said in many posts Bonds, Clemens, Shoeless Joe, and Pete Rose have gotten a lot more publicity by not getting in than they would have if they were installed.  It is fascinating that Palmeiro, McGwire, Sosa have been passed on and no real controversy.  Of course now we have Rodriguez and Manny to fill the columns with indignation.

 

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