Blackballed Bonds: Why Baseball’s Greatest Player Ever Deserves a Spot in Cooperstown

Blackballed Bonds: Why Baseball’s Greatest Player Ever Deserves a Spot in Cooperstown

by December 18, 2019 1 comment

Authors note: This is my third article on controversial athletes. You know, those who are loved and hated evenly down the middle. The first two featured were O.J. Simpson and Michael Vick.

By far the one baseball player who everyone is so hypocritical of is Barry Bonds. 

The son of Bobby Bonds and godson of Willie Mays, Barry began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates but achieved most of his success as a member of the San Francisco Giants.

If you get the chance to visit Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, you’ll see the likes of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Babe Ruth. But, if you are looking for the slugger who hit the most career home runs, you won’t find him. If you want to see the player with the most home runs in a single season, also not there. Spoiler: they are one and the same.

Barry Bonds, the all-time leader in home runs in a single season and all-time home runs, is not enshrined alongside baseball’s elite. Bonds was arguably the most-feared hitter ever. At best, he would get pitched to one at-bat per game. Even when his team was down by four or five runs in the latter part of a game with nobody on base, he would be intentionally walked. Unsurprisingly, he is also the career leader in walks.

Some of his career numbers that stick out the most are his 2,558 walks, 1,539 strikeouts, .298 batting average, 2,935 hits, and 762 home runs. That means one of every four of his hits left the ballpark.

Bonds was a seven-time MVP and 14-time All-Star in his 22-season career. Every at-bat during his chase of the single-season home run record interrupted other games so the world could watch it live. The same thing happened when he was chasing the all-time career total.

There are two reasons Bonds isn’t in the Hall of fame.

First, he wasn’t liked by many people. He came off arrogant and cocky, but he very well backed it up. However, that rubbed many people the wrong way. 

Second, Bonds created controversy through the use of steroids, which has never been proven to be 100 percent true, unlike in the cases of other players of that era who have been proven to have cheated the steroid way. It still remains to be seen if they will get in. As a player, Bonds never tested positive for banned substances. So, those suspicions have never been proven.

The same people who wrote about him and cheered for him every night when he was chasing history are now some of the same people who refuse to see him, or who refuse to vote for him to be inducted, in the Hall of Fame. This is hypocritical.

Football’s greatest player ever, Lawrence Taylor, is in the Football Hall. NBA’s best, Michael Jordan, has a spot in the Basketball Hall. Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player ever, is in the Hockey Hall. But the greatest baseball player ever, Barry Bonds, does not have a spot in the Baseball Hall.

Hitting takes skill above anything else. Do steroids help get the bat on the ball? No, they do not. Either you can hit the ball or you can’t

Take a look at one of the latest players suspended for drugs, Tim Beckham. In six seasons, he has hit a total of 63 home runs, including just 15 this season. Did the drugs he consumed make him the most-feared hitter in baseball? Absolutely not.

On the other hand, there are players who were caught cheating but are still enshrined, such as one guy who used too much pine tar and another who was a spit-baller. 

Do we know for sure that none of the men enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame ever took performance-enhancers of some sort, but have just never been caught? Or if they ever used a corked bat?

In my opinion, the man deserves his rightful place among the all-time greats as he is the best baseball player I have ever seen. 

And here’s a parting thought. Take note that I am not leaning either way. Nonetheless, I pose this idea: If you could do or take something that would allow you to double your salary, would you? What if it was illegal or frowned upon?

Perhaps this is exactly where the hypocrisy is.

Husband, father of 3 and an avid sports fan. Living out my childhood dream of writing about sports, now that I'm in my forties.

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