Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is certain on this point: "I never knowingly took any steroids." And this, too: "I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame."
The remarks by the 39-year-old designated hitter came in a column Thursday for the Players' Tribune, a website founded by Derek Jeter that gives professional athletes a platform.
Ortiz also voiced his displeasure that he will "always be considered a cheater" to his detractors. He contends that nobody in baseball has been tested more often for performance-enhancing drugs — more than 80 times since 2004.
"I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will," Ortiz wrote.
In 2009, Ortiz was on a list of 104 players who allegedly tested positive during Major League Baseball's 2003 survey of steroid use — results that were supposed to be anonymous. Ortiz later said he wound up on the list because he used nutritional supplements and was careless about their contents.
"Most guys were taking over-the-counter supplements then. Most guys are still taking over-the-counter supplements. If it's legal, ballplayers take it," Ortiz wrote. "Why? Because if you make it to the World Series, you play 180 games. Really think about that for a second. 180 games. Your kids could be sick, your wife could be yelling at you, your dad could be dying — nobody cares."