On Wednesday night we learned the 2017 National Baseball Hall of Fame class, and, wrongly, it does not include Barry Bonds.
The 2017 National Baseball Hall of Fame class is now known. On Wednesday night baseball fans found out that catcher Ivan Rodriguez, third baseman Jeff Bagwell, and outfielder Tim Raines will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer. Wrongfully, Barry Bonds remains left out of the Hall of Fame.
In my opinion, the most hallowed record in all of sports is the Major League Baseball home run record. That record is, of course, held by Barry Lamar Bonds with 762 career home runs. And owning that record does not even begin to touch on why Barry Bonds should have been a first ballot Hall of Fame selection.
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In addition to being the all-time home run king Barry Bonds ranks second all-time in WAR (164.4) behind just Babe Ruth and second in walk rate (20.3 percent) just barely behind Ted Williams (20.6 percent). Bonds also ranks third all-time in ISO (.309), fifth all-time in wRC+(173), fifth in slugging percentage (.607), and sixth in on-base percentage (.444).
Furthermore, Bonds 608 career intentional walks is a Major League record. And it is more than double the player who checks in second all-time. That player is Albert Pujols with 302 career intentional walks.
Barry Bonds won the National League MVP Award seven times. That is most in Major League Baseball history for either league. Stan Musial and Albert Pujols are tied for the second most MVP Awards of all-time. And Musial and Pujols combined have less MVP Awards (6) than Bonds does.
If you asked me who the greatest hitter to ever live was, I would tell you Barry Bonds. However, he was also a plus defender for much of his career. From 1990-2004 Bonds won eight Gold Glove Awards in left field.
He was also a threat to steal bases for the first 13 seasons of his Major League career. Barry Bonds had nine season with at least 30 stolen bases, and he also stole 40+ bases in three separate seasons. Bonds finished his career with 514 stolen bases, which is the third most in Major League history.
Oh, and if you want to pull the steroid card on Bonds, do not waste your breathe. First off, when Barry took steroids they were not illegal in Major League Baseball. He was simply using a supplement that nearly everyone else in baseball was using. So do not tell me he cheated because, in fact, he did not.
Secondly, if you do not believe Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame due to ‘cheating’ then I hope you are ready to kick a lot of other players out. Players such as Gaylord Perry and Hank Greenberg were notorious cheaters.
And lest we forget players such as Hank Aaron and Willie Stargell that were also, by the definition of anyone who calls Barry Bonds a cheater, ‘cheating’ during their careers. Same goes for Babe Ruth, who tried to inject himself with sheep testicles in 1925 as an enhancement.
If you believe Barry Bonds should not be in the Hall of Fame, but that players like Mantle, Aaron, Ruth, or Stargell should not be thrown out then you are, by every definition of the word, a hypocrite.
Even before Barry Bonds started to take steroids he was a Hall of Fame players. Hell, he was a Hall of Famer when he left Pittsburgh after the 1992 season.
All athletes, professional or otherwise, look every and any advantage they can find. Does that make them all cheaters? In my opinion, no. Using a banned substance or doing something illegal like stealing signs makes you a cheater. And there are plenty of players in the Hall of Fame who did those things. Barry Bonds, however, never did either.
It is time for Barry Bonds to be in the Hall of Fame. Hell, it’s BEEN time. Did Barry Bonds use steroids? Yes. Did steroids give Barry Bonds the hand eye coordination needed to be one of the greatest hitters to ever live? Absolutely not.
If/when Barry Bonds gets into the Hall of Fame will he be the only ‘cheater’ in the Hall? Once again, absolutely not. Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame players before he took steroids, when he took steroids they were not illegal in baseball, and it is time to end the injustice and put Barry Lamar Bonds into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Oh, Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame too. Who cares if he gambled on baseball as a manager, he is the hit king for God’s sake. But that’s a debate for another time.