Barry Bonds is one of those topics in baseball that fans can get heated about. Some think he should be in the Hall of Fame, some absolutely never. I think we can all agree he took something illegal to help his performance. Before you pass judgement either way let’s take a look at a few things.
1.) We need to decide what warrants someone getting into the Hall of Fame. Is it just stats? Do they have to win a World Series? Can we project stats should a player be injured or pass away early? How important are off the field issues and likeability? Are players accused of PEDs automatically out? Or do you have to test positive? We have to decide do we want the Hall of Fame to have the BEST players or the players that fit into a certain mold of baseball personality/behavior acceptance and the stats?
My personal opinion is I would rather have just the BEST players in the Hall of Fame. Of course drawing the line on those that break our society laws that do harm onto others (murder, etc). Ones that contributed to the game on the field, but also other players/people who contributed to the game off the field. This is just a game of course, not a bar for morality in our society. Let’s take a look at Barry’s stats and see if he is HOF worthy.
2.) Here are Barry's overall stats. .298 avg, 762 HRs, 1,996 RBI, 514 SBs. On top of that 14 x All Star, 7 x MVP, 8 x Gold Glove. If stats don't do it, all those awards are surely HOF worthy.
3.) Let's look at his year by year stats which are probably more important.
If you assume Bonds took PEDs, you would have to try and figure out when he started. Tough to do. But let's assume he started right when he got to the Giants. That would give him 7 clean years with the Pirates, averaging 25 home runs per year. He played the game for 22 years. 22 x 25 avg HRs = 550 HRs. Every player with 500 HRs (excluding the steroid accused and players not eligible) is in the Hall of Fame. If he would have had the same average hits per year with the Pirates as he did his whole career he would have ended up with 3,092. Every 3,000 hit player is in the Hall of Fame (excluding steroid and players not eligible).
So those are 2 really big statistics based on his pre-PED use - if you assume he started right when he got to the Giants. Heck, he could have started a few years in with the Giants and had even bigger numbers on average.
4.) His personality no doubt doesn't help him here. When you piss off the people responsibly voting you into the HOF it makes it hard to get in there. I would argue this says more about the voters than Bonds himself. Their job is to put the best players in the HOF (in my opinion), not the best people. Heck, Ty Cobb is in the HOF, so is George Brett. If you laid out the stats of players not in the HOF and covered up their names I am pretty sure 75% of the voters would vote him in.
5.) Baseball is one of the toughest games to play. When you're an All-Star at a 30% success rate at the plate, that should tell you everything you need to know. Imagine if a Quarterback only completed 30% of their passes or an NBA player only made 30% of their shots and made the Hall of Fame. The hand-eye coordination to hit the ball in the perfect spot is a skill harnessed over years and years of practice and with incredible talent. Yes, PEDs will help you get stronger to potentially hit the ball farther. But it will not help you put the bat in the perfect spot on the ball. There are thousands of people who are much stronger than Barry Bonds that could not hit a baseball.
As with any debate, the fun is in the argument not necessarily changing the outcome. Always interested to hear other baseball fans thoughts.
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