Barry Bonds was not elected into the baseball HOF.
This was his last year of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot effectively shutting him out. pic.twitter.com/ZQGmd5QEXn
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 25, 2022
For many fans, it was a disappointing move from the writers for arguably the greatest player in baseball history.
While his legacy is stained by his performance enhancing drug use, Bonds’ role in the story of baseball is undeniable.
He deserves to be recognized, regardless of the scandals.
An Important Figure Of Baseball History
Bonds’ impact on the game can be summarized in just a single glance at the record books.
His name sits atop the career home run lists, finishing with 762.
He also has the most walks, both normal and intentional, in the sport’s history.
Prior to his alleged steroid use beginning in 1998, Bonds was one of the best all-around talents the sport had seen.
He won three MVPs, seven Gold Gloves, had seven All-Star appearances, and was easily considered one of the game’s best.
His numbers from this time period alone should be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds, by 1999, was the only player in baseball history with at least 400 homers, 400 stolen bases and a 400+ OBP.
He remains the only one today.
His career totals: 762 homers, 514 stolen bases and a .444 on-base percentage. https://t.co/DmqWvnOkDp
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 25, 2022
From 1998 and on, he ascended to a place where no other hitter had.
He was feared, both for his potential to drive a ball 450 feet and work an unbelievable walk.
His blend of discipline and power was rare for the game, even in a juiced offensive age.
From 2001-2004, Bonds won four straight MVPs and hit 209 home runs.
With the uncovering of the steroid scandal, he quickly became the clear scapegoat.
Yes, Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs.
Yes, it certainly helped him continue to be the sport’s best hitter even into his late 30s.
However, in an age where a significant number of players were using, Bonds was still better than every one of them.
For all the good and bad of his career, it is a legacy that needs to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Barry Bonds getting Intentionally Walked…
With the Bases Loaded. pic.twitter.com/plPF06Vvvc
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 25, 2022
Other PED Users Are In…Why Not Bonds?
The only player voted to the Hall of Fame this year was Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz.
Big love for Big Papi.
David Ortiz is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. pic.twitter.com/wEtLLHalXv
— MLB (@MLB) January 25, 2022
While he is a beloved figure by most of baseball’s fans, he does not come without his own grey area.
During anonymous drug testing in 2003, Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance.
This has since been called into question by many in the sport, including current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
However, with such a blip on his resumé that can even call his legitimacy into question, why was he still voted in?
The sport has also seemed to forget about the role that former commissioner Bud Selig played in the lackadaisical response to the steroid era.
Fast-forward 20 years and Selig is widely considered as the man who stopped rampant steroid use in the game, reaping the rewards and none of the blame.
Despite all of this, Bonds remains the target of writers’ angers towards the steroid era.
Voters seem to see the numbers and associate him with using more PEDs, rather than recognizing his greatness in the microcosm of his generation.
Erase History Or Embrace It?
Whether baseball likes it or not, there are dirty aspects of its history.
MLB’s all-time hits leader (Pete Rose), all-time HR leader (Barry Bonds), and all-time Cy Young leader (Roger Clemens) are all NOT in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) January 25, 2022
No matter the era, baseball will always have question marks around who is voted in.
This makes up its colorful and deep history, which is a big reason why fans love the sport.
As Bonds falls off the ballot, the Hall of Fame is in a tough position: ignore a dark time for the sport’s integrity or recognize and still embrace the greats of that time.
Now, his final opportunity relies on the Today’s Game Committee, which exists to reanalyze prior candidates to see if they belong.
The answer is clear regardless of the steroids: Bonds deserves to be in.