Barry Bonds is the all-time leader in career home runs (762) and walks (2558). He won seven MVP awards, made 14 all-star teams, and won eight gold gloves. Bonds stole 514 bases, and is the only person in MLB history to accumulate 400+ HR and 400+ SB. He had a career on base percentage of .444, reached base at an unfathomable .559 clip over a four year span from 2001 to 2004, and had a career OPS of 1.051 good for 4th all time, including a run of 14 straight seasons over 1.000.
To put that into perspective, only eight MLB players have ever finished their careers with an OPS over 1.000, and their names are Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Bonds,Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Rogers Hornsby, and Albert Pujols.
Bonds also walked over 1,000 more times than he struck out in his career, and finished with more BB than K’s in all but three of his 22 big leagues seasons. He was truly the most dominant player of his generation.
But we don’t care.
And we likely never will.
Barry Bonds didn’t write a book like Jose Canseco. He didn’t confess his love for steroids, what they did for him, and how he used them. He didn’t name names, throw people under the bus, or discuss his toxic relationships with the media or fellow athletes.
But he didn’t have to.
It was written all over his face.
According to the latest hall of fame tracker findings (with official results set to come out in the next 24 hours), Bonds received 41.3% of the sportswriter’s vote this year, up from 36.2% last year in his first go around on the ballot.
It’s complicated to say if he’ll ever make it, but a case can certainly be made. For you Sabermetric lovers out there, Bonds’ Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is second all-time at 162.5 only trailing the Sultan of Swat himself, and as far as his steroid use is concerned, if we look at just the first 10 years of Bonds career–before he turned into a giant ball of muscle–he still would have been the 51st best player to ever play the game in terms of WAR at 73.7, plenty good enough to be inducted.
But that doesn’t mean the case for Bonds not making it into the Hall of Fame–and there is one–should be overlooked. He was notorious for being a jerk to the media and the fans, and although that shouldn’t be the reason he makes it or not, it doesn’t help him either. If he held a press conference after he was accused of using steroids, cried, admitted everything, and begged for forgiveness, would his chances of making it be any different?
I’m not saying it’s right.
But maybe. It wouldn’t have hurt.
As baseball fans and baseball lovers, we just want sincerity from of our childhood heroes, and Bonds exemplifies the exact opposite.
In ten years, will that even matter? Will we forgive the illegitimate home run king and forget all the warts that he left on the game? Will we turn the other cheek and ironically just let possibly one of the greatest athletes of an era sneak into the Hall of Fame?
All I’m saying is it’s possible.
But only time will tell.
Shawn Ferris is a MLB, NFL, and Fantasy Sports writer for sportstalkflorida.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealShawnFerris.