Cubs: David Ortiz headed to Hall of Fame, Sammy Sosa falls short
While the lockout in baseball continues, the BBWAA soldiered on with the official reveal of the Hall of Fame class of 2022 happening today. Once more, as expected, Chicago Cubs superstar Sammy Sosa fell well short of the 75 percent needed to make it into Cooperstown, marking the end of his 10-year campaign to make it in. Although Sosa’s candidacy is over – the voters didn’t pitch a shutout this year.
One player, Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, got his well-deserved place in the Hall of Fame with 77.9 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. Ortiz might have a case for being the greatest designated hitter to ever play the game, racking up 541 home runs en route to a 141 career OPS+, seven Silver Sluggers, five top-five MVP finishes, three World Series rings, a World Series MVP and a Home Run Derby championship.
Everyone else will have to keep waiting. It’s especially tough for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling, all of whom were on their final year on the ballot. All three fell well short with only Bonds getting within 10 percent of the threshold. In regards to him and Clemens, it’s clear the BBWAA is taking a zero-tolerance policy for PED users while Schilling has his own deeply disturbing issues and downright dangerous opinions that leave voters uneasy about voting him in.
Other candidates, like Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner and Todd Helton, continue to make steady progress towards their own inductions. Rolen looks poised to get in in another year or two as he now sits at 63.2 percent while Wagner and Helton both crossed the 50 percent threshold for the first time. This was also the debut year for Alex Rodriguez, the next high-profile PED player, who only got 34.3 percent of voters onboard, which is below what even Bonds did in his first go-round.
Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa seems unlikely to ever reach the Hall of Fame
While it was already mathematically impossible for the Cubs home run king to make it to Cooperstown, the reveal today drove home the finality of his case. Sosa barely inched up in the vote, garnering a paltry 18.5 percent in his final year. Despite his years of excellence on the North Side, Sosa fell to the wayside like his fellow PED users. Now, if he has any hope of getting that elusive Hall of Fame nod, the road runs through the Veteran’s Committee.
Sadly, the outlook isn’t great for him there either. The committee is arguably even harsher on steroid users than the typical Hall of Fame voters. Jeff Passan spoke about the Hall’s downright propagandistic appeal sealed with Joe Morgan’s signature to voters to bar all unscrupulous PED users from its “sacred” grounds. If the tenor of that message is any indication, when the Today’s Game Era Committee meets in December it won’t end well for steroid users.
In telling the story of baseball, there is no avoiding talking about Sosa, Mark McGwire, the home run chase, and the steroid era. It’s a travesty that the BBWAA, an organization that lets people that haven’t covered the sport in years vote, continues to gatekeep some of the greatest players in the game’s history while the red carpet was rolled out for Bud Selig, the commissioner that turned a blind eye to steroids. Tell the full story of baseball and its stars, warts and all.