As the world series gets ready to start (I’ll be cheering for Dave Roberts and the Dodgers) I think it’s a good time to revisit an issue hanging over baseball.
I’m not a fan of the steroids era in baseball, I think it put players in a position where they had a choice of a chance to make millions or not and, in my opinion risked their health in making the wrong choice. I also think that baseball took too long to clean itself up and put in rules to change things.
Nevertheless I think it’s time to put Barry Bonds in the Baseball Hall of Fame and have seven good reasons for doing so.
First of all let’s remember that before he got on the juice it must be remembered and acknowledged that he had already put up Hall of fame stats. He was one of the most exciting players in the game, in the field, at the plate and on the basepads. He had won 3 MVP’s If he had retired before the start of the 20th century there is no question that he would have been a first ballot hall of famer.
Second of all his post 2000 stats didn’t take place in a vacuum. Bonds was hardly the only player juicing I don’t doubt that there were plenty of people on the mound who he faced that were juiced, plenty of people in the field defending against him who were juiced, yet he not only put up monster stats, he put up monster stats beyond all of those other players who were juicing just as much as he was.
Third of all it hits me that a lot of the backlash against Bonds is that frankly he seems a bit of an arrogant ass. As true as that might be his job as a baseball player was to produce runs and boy did he do so.
Fourth of all in the end Baseball never suspended him for breaking the rules, nor has he been convicted of any crime. All of the games he played in were legal games that counted in the standings and unless you want to alter the record of every single game ever played no about of outrage will strip him of a single hit, run, homer or walk.
Fifth of all I think he’s already been punished. By every rational standard Barry Bonds should have been signed after the 2007 season yet he remained unsigned despite leading the league in walks and onbase percentage. His breaking of the all time HR record is the least celebrated performance (and holding of the all time walks both intentional and unintentional) are consigned to the dustbin of history. He is likely the least celebrated great player in the history of the game
Sixth of all I can’t get over the stats on walks. In the 21st century Barry Bonds came to the plate 3465 time and of those 3465 times pitchers walked him either intentionally or unintentionally 1379 times. If those had been hits that would come out to a batting avg of .397 without taking a single swing. That’s over a freaking seven year period (one of which was shortened by injury) and it’s without flexing a single steroid enhanced muscle.
Seventh of all I think the game can’t get the steroids era behind it until we vote Bonds in, acknowledge of all the juicers he was the greatest beyond compare and be done with it. I think the best way to do so would be to do it sooner rather than later. it’s the best thing for the game in the short and long run.
I think these seven reasons good reasons should be enough to carry the day.
Now here is the one bad reason why I think the sportswriters, still outraged by Bonds will eventually vote him into the Hall:
Voting Bonds into the Hall of Fame would be the final and most effective way for those who hate him in the game to humiliate him one more time.
It has been said that the reason why Bonds started juicing was because he felt upstaged in both financial and fan recognition by players like McGuire and Sosa who had produced power by steroids. This grievance drove him right up until his last at bat. I might be wrong but in my opinion said mentality is now comfortable to him. He can point to his stats, his success and the game’s unwillingness to acknowledge him as one of the greatest ever to play as proof that Baseball was out to get him and humiliate him.
He has now been on the ballot 5 times and in 2017 drew 53.8% of the vote. Next year it’s likely that Clipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero (and hopefully Omar Visquel) will make it in while he slowly inches up toward 60% in his 6th year on the ballot. By the time Ichrio makes in on the first ballot Bonds will likely be in his 13th year of eligibility and might have finally broken the 70%.
Can you imagine how he will feel if he finally makes it in say his 14th year squeaking by with 75.1% of the vote? Can you picture him getting on the stage at Cooperstown and having to thank all those who kept him off the ballot for so many years for acknowledging what he had already done and grudgingly let him in the door?
I think that is their last chance to put the knife in, it’s a cruel and dishonorable reason to do it, which is why I suspect it will be the reason why it will be done.