The National Baseball Hall of Fame added a new member to its incoming 2022 class on Tuesday evening, with the announcement that former Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz had earned induction through the Baseball Writers Association of America’s voting tally. Ortiz was the only member of the class to surpass the 75-percent threshold required for entrance on the BBWAA ballot. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa — all in their 10th and final year on the writers’ ballot — failed to hit the 75-percent mark.
Ortiz, who batted .286/.380/.552 with 541 home runs and 10 All-Star Game appearances over the course of a 20-season career, will join a group of six others in the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class. The rest of the class is made up exclusively of veterans committee selections: Buck O’Neil, Bud Fowler, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Gil Hodges and Minnie Miñoso. The 2022 Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, July 24.
The full ballot can be viewed here. For posterity’s sake, it should be noted that players are eligible for the ballot after five years of retirement. Players then have to earn 75 percent of the vote in order to be enshrined. Those who fall short of that mark can remain on the ballot for upwards of 10 years provided they receive at least 5 percent of the vote share each winter. Voters are allowed to cast their votes for anywhere from zero to 10 players each ballot.
Ortiz, who also spent time with the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins organization, didn’t ascend into his now recognizable “Big Papi” form until he joined the Red Sox in his late-20s. In parts of six seasons prior to landing in Boston, he’d hit .266/.348/.461 (108 OPS+) with 58 home runs. Ortiz’s late-career surge saw him launch 483 home runs after beginning his age-27 season. That’s the fifth-most all-time. The only players to homer more times afterward are Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron, and Rafael Palmeiro.
Of course, part of Ortiz’s legend centers on his penchant for big home runs, especially in the postseason. He appeared in 85 playoff games during his career, amassing a .289/.404/.543 slash line with 17 home runs. He won three World Series with the Red Sox and twice claimed an MVP Award for his play during pivotal series: the first coming in the 2004 AL Championship Series, and the second during the 2013 World Series. Ortiz homered twice and drove in six over the course of 16 at-bats.
Below you’ll find the complete voting breakdown (courtesy of the BBWAA), as well as four other takeaways from this Hall of Fame season.
2022 Baseball Hall of Fame results
- David Ortiz: 77.9 percent
- Barry Bonds: 66 percent*
- Roger Clemens: 65.2 percent*
- Scott Rolen: 63.2 percent
- Curt Schilling: 58.6 percent*
- Todd Helton: 52 percent
- Billy Wagner: 51 percent
- Andruw Jones: 41.1 percent
- Gary Sheffield: 40.6 percent
- Alex Rodriguez: 34.3 percent
- Jeff Kent: 32.7 percent
- Manny Ramirez: 28.9 percent
- Omar Vizquel: 23.9 percent
- Sammy Sosa: 18.5 percent*
- Andy Pettitte: 10.7 percent
- Jimmy Rollins: 9.4 percent
- Bobby Abreu: 8.6 percent
- Mark Buehrle: 5.8 percent
- Torii Hunter: 5.3 percent
* = 10th and final year on the ballot
All other players received less than 5 percent of the vote. Now, onto the takeaways.
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1. Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Sosa fall short in final year
Arguably the biggest question facing this round of voting was whether or not a foursome of players maligned for either steroid- or character-related purposes — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa — who were on their 10th and final ballots would be voted into Cooperstown.
The answer turned out to be no across the board.
Bonds and Clemens came closest to making it in, finishing with 66 and 65.2 percent of the vote, respectively. Schilling, who had asked to be removed from the ballot after last year’s announcement, checked in at 58.6 percent. Sosa, meanwhile, was no real threat for entrance, as he failed to top 19 percent.
Although this is the end of the road for those four players on the Hall of Fame ballot, it doesn’t mean their chances of reaching Cooperstown are finished. It’s at least possible that they’re eventually selected for induction by a committee.
Based on other trends, it’s clear that the voting body as a whole is not yet ready or willing to give a pass to the Steroids Era.
2. A-Rod remains low
To wit, Alex Rodriguez received just over 34 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. For comparison’s sake, that’s a lower share than Bonds received at any point during his 10 years on the ballot.
As our Matt Snyder outlined earlier today, Rodriguez’s candidacy is complicated. There’s no ignoring his brilliant play and gaudy statistics, yet voters seemed to punish him for his links to the Biogenesis scandal and his admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
It’s to be seen if voters reconsider Rodriguez over the next nine rounds of voting. But clearly, based on the examples provided in the cases of Bonds and Clemens, there’s no guarantee that he will end up receiving the 75 percent needed for enshrinement.
3. Rolen, Helton, Wagner make gains
As a reminder: players are permitted to remain on the ballot for up to 10 years provided they continue earning at least 5 percent of the vote. That’s good news for the likes of Scott Rolen, Todd Helton, and Billy Wagner, who were the only players outside of Ortiz, Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling to appear on at least half the ballots.
Rolen’s fifth ballot saw him reach 63.2 percent, continuing a jaw-dropping ascent given that he finished with less than 20 percent of the vote in each of his first two years. Helton, in his fourth year of eligibility, saw his share improve from 44.9 percent to 52 percent. Wagner, for his part, checked in at 51 percent, a modest gain from 46.4 percent in what served as his seventh year on the ballot.
On the flip side, Gary Sheffield, Jeff Kent, and Manny Ramírez’s vote shares remained static or close to it.
4. Lincecum among 11 to fall off ballot
The flip side of the Rolens and the Heltons entails the players who fell short of the 5-percent threshold. There were 11 in total this year, including 10 players who were in their first year on the ballot: Tim Hudson (the lone holdover from last year to fall off), Joe Nathan, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, Justin Morneau, Jonathan Papelbon, Prince Fielder, A.J. Pierzynski, Carl Crawford, and Jake Peavy.
Mark Buehrle and Torii Hunter were the proverbial lucky dogs, as both finished with between 5 and 6 percent of the vote. They’ll be on the ballot next year alongside newcomers like Carlos Beltrán, John Lackey, and Jered Weaver.