MOST SNUBBED: Barry Bonds
Written by Knight Jarecki
Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of stories known as “MOST SNUBBED”. This series will cover sports’ most snubbed players or teams in recent history. The object is to shine some light on the what could (of) be/been.
The first installment of the series will feature former Pittsburgh Pirate and San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds and why he is snubbed from Cooperstown. Bonds set unprecedented marks in the MLB including breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record of 755 home runs. However, there is much controversy that Bonds had used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) during his career. But does this mean he should not be in the Hall of Fame
(Photo by: Eric Risberg, AP)
Before I proceed any further with my case for why Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame, I would like to point out that I am a Giants fan. I am writing this article as unbiased as I can be. I do not support Bonds being inducted in the Hall of Fame because I am a Giants fan, but rather because I am a baseball fan.
First, let’s just explain how dominant Bonds was prior to the PED allegations that took place in the early 2000’s. When Bonds got drafted, it only took him 1 year to go through the minor leagues and make it to the big leagues. From there he exploded into the league and helped attendance surge in Pittsburgh, who prior to Bonds arrival averaged less than 10,000 fans per game. After his first season in the league, the Pirates’ opening day attendance for the 1987 season was 52,119. From his entrance in the league in 1986 to 2000 (prior to alleged PED consumption), Bonds had won 3 NL MVP’s, was a 9 time all star, 8 time gold glove winner, 7 time Silver Slugger, and the NL Home Run and RBI leader in 1993 with the giants. Even if you discount the second half of his dominant career, he would still have a case to be a Hall of Fame member. Former ESPN Staff Member and Baseball Hall of Fame voter Wallace Matthews even says “Bonds, for instance, was clearly a Hall of Famer pre-1998”. So even if you don’t credit any accomplishments after the alleged steroid usage, Bonds would still be a Hall of Famer.
If you include the later part of his career, his numbers are even more mind boggling. 762 home runs, 1996 RBI’s, 0.444 on base percentage, .607 slugging percentage, 7 total NL MVP’s (including record 4 straight), 14 time all star, 12 time silver slugger and 8 time Gold Glove winner. He also was a 2 time batting champion in the league and the only person with over 400 stolen bases and 400 home runs (He has over 500 each). This is pure dominance. He even put up all of these statistics while being walked more than any other baseball player in history. Bonds had been walked 2,558 times which is over 350 more than the second place holder Rickey Henderson. Bonds had also been intentionally walked 688 times which is 392 more times than any other baseball player.
(Photo by: AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
But there is no evidence that Bonds willingly took steroids during his dominant years. Bonds was found to have used steroids and other PED’s beginning in 2008 during the BALCO drug scandal. This was after Bonds had stopped playing baseball in 2007. Bonds was a client at Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative or BALCO which created designer drugs to shape the human body. Bonds had never failed a drug test during his playing time at all. During an investigation, Bonds testified before a federal grand jury that he had received two steroids known as “The Clear” and “The Cream” from his trainer in 2003 but he was told they were flaxseed oil and rubbing balm for arthritis. The Government was so convinced he was lying that they finally convicted him of obstruction of justice in 2011, but the charge was overturned in 2015. Furthermore, Bonds has never failed a drug test and had never done anything against MLB guidelines.
With only 2 years of Hall of Fame eligibility remaining for Bonds, time is running out for the former great. While carrying some momentum, Bonds still is short 15% of the 75% required to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Nobody has changed the game of baseball more than Barry Bonds and he should be rewarded for his contributions to the league. Even if you believe that he has taken steroids, the first half of his career alone justifies his Hall of Fame induction. In total his career numbers are unparalleled and even if steroids were in use, his production would still be deserving of the Hall of Fame.