ALTA LOMA, Calif. (BVM) — Barry Bonds is in the news annually, at least, for something he wishes wasn’t his reality.
The all-time home run leader in Major League Baseball is undoubtedly one of the best to play the sport, but in 2020 – for the eighth consecutive year – Bonds was once again excluded from the National Baseball Hall of Fame class by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
Bonds won five of his MLB-record seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards with the San Francisco Giants, is a 14-time NL All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner. While the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases is lauded for his illustrious playing career, his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs has overshadowed his accomplishments and kept him on the outside looking in of Cooperstown.
With just two years of Hall of Fame eligibility left, Bonds is running low on time and momentum.
The former Giants star was named on just 60.7% of ballots in 2020, a far cry from the 75% required for induction. That figure is only a slight improvement from the 59.1% of ballots Bonds was included on in 2019.
Bonds took to Twitter in March to walk back comments he made in regards to the feeling that he was given “a death sentence” by the BBWAA. In his tweet, Bonds said he was “misquoted” and did not reference MLB in any way or infer that the league was keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.
“I made the analogy that I had two years left in a ‘life sentence’ meaning I had two years left on the ballot,” Bonds said on Twitter. “If I didn’t make it in the Hall during that time, then I would be given the ‘death penalty’ by being omitted by the writers.”
Whatever he meant in terms of a “death penalty” from the BBWAA or the National Baseball Hall of Fame, one thing is certain: Bonds feels he belongs in Cooperstown. As Bonds sweats out his final two years of National Baseball Hall of Fame eligibility, the Riverside native didn’t have long to wait to be recognized by his home state.
The three-time NL Hank Aaron Award winner was recently inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame, joining basketball legends Jerry Buss and Marques Johnson, among others, in the Class of 2019.
“This is an awesome honor for me,” Bonds said during his induction speech. “Being a California native and now being able to have the opportunity to be in the California Sports Hall of Fame is pretty impressive.”
Bonds, much like Roger Clemens, has the accolades of a Hall of Famer, but his legacy has been sullied by the pervasive presence of PEDs during his prime of the 1990s and early 2000s.
With two years of eligibility left, Bonds could still gain the right amount of ground to get in, but there really shouldn’t even be a question. If the Hall of Fame is meant as a place to remember and honor the best to ever play baseball, the 12-time Silver Slugger belongs.
Bonds has the highest number of home runs in a single season (73 in 2001), the highest number of career home runs (762) and a career WAR (wins above replacement) of 162.8, the fourth-highest in baseball history. His longevity — even if aided by the use of PEDs — of playing 22 seasons across three different decades also cannot be ignored.
Whether Bonds ever finds himself in Cooperstown or not, he’ll remain enshrined in the California Sports Hall of Fame, and the hearts of baseball fans for eternity.