How much does popularity count when you vote? Does your personal view of the person exceed the candidate’s views, principles and achievements?
From voting for US president to mayor to the baseball Hall of Fame, popularity counts. It is inherent in all of us.
Think of this year’s Hall of Fame voting. The results will be announced next week and there are indications that David Ortiz, affectionately known as Big Papi, will be elected on this, his first, ballot.
Make no mistake, Ortiz is well worth the introduction. He had monstrous playoff numbers and helped the Boston Red Sox franchise to triple World Series titles.
Let’s put steroids aside for a moment. Ortiz was named as a user in some reports, while fellow Hall candidates Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were always believed to have taken performance-enhancing drugs (PED). Rodriguez was even banned for a season!
But there is another consideration – and that is popularity. Big Papi was – and still is – worshiped in Boston. Ortiz, who likes to have fun with a Hollywood smile, can win almost any vote, not just the Hall of Fame.
But Ortiz was a designated hitter for most of his career, Bonds was an elite defensive left fielder with eight gold gloves, while Rodriguez won two at shortstop, considered one of the most demanding positions on the field.
Bonds won 7 MVP awards, Rodriguez 3, Ortiz 0.
Bonds hit 219 home runs more than Ortiz, Rodriguez 155 more.
You get the picture.
Here comes the popularity element. While Ortiz was widely loved in the baseball world, Bonds was a gruff, selfish teammate and Rodriguez was always an outsider, marching to his own inflated drum.
The word in the baseball world is that Ortiz will have plenty of votes (75% of eligible voters, who are members of the Baseball Writer’s Assn. Of America) and Bonds may also sneak in on his 10th (and final) try.
I believe it wasn’t just the use of PEDs that kept Bonds (and currently Rodriguez, who is also on the ballot for the first time) away from Cooperstown. It was POPULARITY.
I no longer have a Hall of Fame vote (you have to regularly report baseball for 10 years to get a vote from the Baseball Writer’s Assn. of America), but if I voted this year, Ortiz, Scott Rolen his , Todd Helton and Andruw Jones.
Remember that the Hall is not only for the best attacking players, but also for the best in general. Rolen won 8 gold gloves at third base (and made 7 All-Star teams), Helton first won 3 gold gloves (and had a .316 batting average) while Jones won 10 gold gloves and was considered one of the best defenders centers. field players of all time.
Big Papi heads to Cooperstown this summer, along with fellow designated hitters Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines. I don’t think defense is by far the factor that is popularity.
Pete Donovan is a resident of Palm Desert and a former sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He can be reached at email@example.com