and the Hall of Fame Discussion
“AND BONDS HITS ONE HIGH, HITS IT DEEP, IT IS OUTTA HERE! 756 , BONDS STANDS ALONE! HE IS ON TOP OF THE ALL-TIME HOME RUN LIST.” - Giants Broadcaster Duane Kuiper
San Francisco erupted in cheers as Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record in the fifth inning off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik on Aug. 7, 2007. Giants fans had anticipated the night since the start of the season, knowing that at some point the greatest hitter to ever step into the box was going to break the record. Nearly every seat in the stadium was filled with screaming fans as history was made.
You watch a player as athletic and talented as Bonds and you sit there in awe.
“How did he do that?”
With a high IQ, a magnetic-like glove in the outfield, and a bat that managed to ring your ears with a loud “pop” for nearly every fly ball that was hit off of it, you never wondered if Bonds was going to make it into the Hall of Fame. It was only a matter of when he decided to put the glove down and call it a career.
Bonds now has one year left of eligibility to be inducted into the Hall of Fame before he’s out of chances, and there’s no more change left in the wallet of hope.
The seven-time MVP winner retired with a .298 batting average, tallying 2,935 hits and 1,996 RBIs. In six of his 22 seasons, he held an on-base slugging percentage twice the league average. Ted Williams and Babe Ruth were the only other players who had more. As Bonds still carries the most home runs hit in MLB history to this day, he also holds the record for walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688).
When Bonds retired in 2007, Major League Baseball managed to throw away its golden child and used the allegations of his past use of steroids against him.
Sports writers tarnished his name, wrote him off the the Hall of Fame Ballot as steroid usage had unwittingly barred him from ever entering a door that should've been held wide open for him since the ending of his career in Pittsburgh, before the allegations of steroid usage.
What began as an attempt to put the greatest players of all-time into one category where they could relish in their accomplishments, has turned into a popularity contest, one that Bonds was fated to lose. As great as Bonds was off the field, he had no interest in the likeness of his name. As a matter of fact, if he had been nicer to the media and cared just a smidgen about the fans, we might not be having this conversation.
How stupid is that?
Media writers have the final say as to who gets inducted into the great Hall of Fame, stamping their name in history forever. Who came up with that rule? Media writers themselves? I guarantee you, if you ask fellow players, managers, and retired players and make that your committee, this conversation would be dead. Bonds would be primed to enter the same conversation as other Giants greats such as Willey McCovey, and none other than the greatest to ever wear the jersey, his Godfather, Willie Mays.
As a matter of fact, if you ask the “Say Hey Kid” whether or not Barry deserves to wear the gold jacket, he’d tell you “The Hall of Fame is where I want him to get. I want him to have that honor. On behalf of all the people, vote this guy in.’’
Word for word. See, I told you.
His words came in 2018 when the Giants had retired Bonds’ number 25, cementing his name in San Francisco, at least.
No other National League team has had more players enter the Hall of Fame than the Giants with a total of 55 players daunting the orange and black from New York all the way to the West Coast. Only five have called San Francisco their home.
Pitchers didn’t dare pitch willingly to him. Bonds was ruthless. If he wasn’t hitting it out into McCovey Cove, he would sure as hell wait for you to throw him what he wanted. The patience level is unmatched to this day. For a player to be able to tell broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow on the team plane pitch-by-pitch what would be thrown to him, and be correct, you have to come to the conclusion that this guy might be the greatest player to ever step foot in the box, steroid use or not.
Let's take steroids out of the equation. His career in Pittsburgh is still enough to seal the deal and cement his rightfully earned spot. Bonds would have left the batter's box with a total of 411 home runs, 1,917 hits, 1,216 RBIs, 1,357 walks with 289 intentional, and a .966 OPS if his career had ended in 1998. Bond’s JAWS (Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score) score would have gone down from 117.5 to 81.0, putting himself well above the average of left fielders already inducted into the Hall of Fame (53.3).
The media holds a grudge, just like your mother did when you ate dessert before touching your dinner. Now look at us: unsatisfied and in need of our nutrients. Baseball needs Bonds inducted into the Hall of Fame, not only for their reputation, but for my sanity and the sanity of other fans who had the graces of watching him play.
Players need to be on 75 percent of the ballots to make it into the Hall of Fame. Bonds received 61.8 percent last year. One year left of eligibility, and one more year until I throw my head against the wall if common sense can’t be found.