Over the past several years, the voting process for the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become a guessing game. No one seems to know what criteria makes up that of a Hall of Fame baseball player. On top of that, there is the issue of steroids, which further complicates the process for voters.
Which brings us to Barry Bonds, who saw his vote percentage rise from 44.3 percent in 2016 to 53.8 percent this year.
Let’s make this perfectly clear: Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer.
So why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame? It’s simple… because people don’t like Barry Bonds.
Why do people not like Barry Bonds? That is simple as well… he was a jerk. In Jeff Pearlman’s autobiography about Bonds, titled Love Me Hate Me, he talks about how Bonds’ godfather, Willie Mays (yes, that Willie Mays), taught him that stars are not part of a group. Essentially, he told him that stars shine on their own, which would explain Bonds’ antisocial attitude throughout his career. In fact, Bonds was such a jerk that he was almost voted off of his college baseball team at Arizona State.
People just don’t like Barry Bonds.
So let’s go back to the issue of steroids and ask this very important question…
Why are performance-enhancing drugs banned in the sport of baseball?
It is a question worth asking because today’s players use performance-enhancers every day and most people don’t even realize it. Glasses and goggles that improve your vision are certainly performance-enhancing, but they are not banned in the sport of baseball. Why? Because wearing glasses does not jeopardize one’s future and long-term health.
Performance-enhancing drugs were banned so players do not attempt to harm themselves in the name of competition. Without those rules, Major League Baseball would be encouraging their players to damage their bodies to succeed.
Bonds had a fantastic season in 1998. He hit 37 home runs, 122 runs batted in, and 28 stolen bases IN ADDITION to a .303 batting average, .438 on-base percentage and .609 slugging percentage. Yet, no one talked about this INCREDIBLE season because Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were busy doing their own things. It’s also worth noting that McGwire admitted to using steroids in 2010, while Sosa was supposedly on a list of players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to a 2009 New York Times report.
So again, why are performance-enhancing drugs banned in the sport of baseball? So players don’t have to mortgage their future.
In 1998, the best player in Major League Baseball was not McGwire or Sosa. The best player in Major League Baseball was Barry Bonds.
Now, it is widely assumed by many trusted baseball experts that after the 1998 season, Bonds began using performance-enhancing drugs. But before delving into Bonds’ career post-1998, let’s take a look back at his career from 1986 to 1998:
– Three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1990, 1992, 1993)
– Robbed of the MVP Award in 1991, so he should have won the MVP Award four seasons in a row
– Hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases in the same season FIVE TIMES
– Had he stolen one more base in both 1993 and 1994, he would have gone for 30/30 in SIX STRAIGHT SEASONS (1992-1997), bringing his all-time total of 30/30 seasons to SEVEN
– Eight-time Gold Glove winner
– Played majority of his games in pitcher’s ballparks such as Candlestick Park and Pacific Bell Park
After looking at that resumé, how is Bonds not a potentially unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer?
The reality was that McGwire and Sosa stole all the shine from Bonds’ insane season in 1998 and as a result, Bonds decided to start taking performance-enhancing drugs. It’s understandable why many people view Bonds as the leader of the steroids era, but make no mistake about it…
Barry Bonds was a VICTIM of the steroids era.
If the state of Major League Baseball had deteriorated to the point where Bonds can hit 37 home runs and 122 RBIs and STILL take performance-enhancing drugs in order for people to pay attention, then what does that say about baseball fans? More importantly, what does that say about Major League Baseball?
Those rules are in place to protect the greatness of players like Bonds from cheaters who dreamed that they could be as good as Bonds.
Deciding which players deserve enshrinement in the Hall of Fame SHOULD NOT be a moral argument. It should be a BASEBALL argument.
Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how AWESOME Barry Bonds was from 1998 to 2004? It’s understandable to have a moral problem with Bonds taking steroids, but no one can deny that 2001 Barry Bonds was the most amazing athlete in the history of sports. Honestly, go ahead and induct Bonds into the Hall of Fame twice… once for 1986-1998 and once for post-1998 because both players were Hall-of-Famers.
Major League Baseball’s rules on performance-enhancing drugs were originally enforced to make sure that a player of Bonds’ caliber never had to think about cheating. Major League Baseball FAILED Barry Bonds, so why should he be punished?
Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer. End of story.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below or send me a tweet (@danny_shin131). Is Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer?