As of Tuesday morning, David Ortiz is trending towards induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot – but how is it that Big Papi, who has been linked to PED talk in his career, seems like a lock while Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who are in their 10th and final years on the ballot, may not get in?
“If precedent holds, I think Ortiz will get in, and I don’t think Bonds and Clemens aren’t going to make it. The older guys generally aren’t on Twitter, and they’re a little tougher on the steroids generally,” Audacy MLB insider Jon Heyman told Tiki & Tierney when he joined them on WFAN Tuesday.
Heyman joked that “I’m old too but I’m on Twitter,” then explained why, when someone claims he’s not consistent with his ballots, he can defend coming around on Bonds, at least.
“I’m pretty tough on the steroids, but I’ve come around on Bonds because by the end of 1996, he had 334 home runs and 380 stolen bases, and no one in baseball had more,” Heyman said. “I believe the narrative that he didn’t do steroids until 2001; even without BALCO and the Mitchell Report, I think we understand he did them, but I believe the narrative.”
According to Heyman, who said he voted for Bonds, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Andruw Jones, and Jeff Kent, there’s a method to the madness as well.
“To me, a guy has to be caught with steroids, and that means a failed test, a suspension, the Mitchell Report…if someone wants to vote for them all because they all did great things, I get it,” Heyman said. “People say I should vote for Clemens, and he started doing steroids a few years earlier than Bonds, so it’s tough to differentiate.”
That said, Heyman noted that of the 30 players on the ballot, eight are fairly well-linked to PEDs, and 15 others have really good Hall cases, so things can get muddied real quick.
“The thing that makes this ballot so hard is that the best seven players based on accomplishments all are linked to steroids. There are a lot of good players on this ballot, and we don’t know 100 percent if a guy did or did steroids, but I don’t want to give the other guys short shrift," Heyman said. "A very good case could be made for the guys who did PEDs, but I think 15 other guys have a good case too. I try to favor those guys, but I did vote for Bonds, and four of the other guys too.”
One thing Heyman did say, though: he defends his fellow BBWAA members who vote for the Hall of Fame, but the trend as of now, along with their past, is not a good look for the group.
“I don’t think we did a good job covering steroids, because we didn’t uncover anything. There are investigative journalist, but they apparently weren’t good ones,” Heyman said. “I think we do a good job with the voting, but to me, it’s not a good job by us if Ortiz gets in on try number one, and Bonds and Clemens came through 10 times and don’t get in. They are better players, and I’m not going to vote for somebody who’s linked on the first ballot. I think it looks bad for us.”
Check out more from Heyman’s appearance with Tiki & Tierney in the audio above!