The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is intended to be a place where the greatest players of their game are enshrined and immortalized for future generations to gaze upon their accomplishments. The greatest players of their eras are given their just due, with players from the early days of the game standing next to today’s luminaries. Or, at least, that is the intent.
Unfortunately for Barry Bonds, that induction as one of the greats of the game, and one of the greats of his era, has not come. Despite being the all time leader with 762 home runs, 2558 walks and 688 intentional walks, Bonds remains on the outside. His seven MVP awards, eight Gold Glove awards, twelve Silver Slugger awards and fourteen All-Star appearances mean nothing. What about how Bonds is not just the only member of the 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases club, let alone the 500/500 club? Irrelevant.
Why? Because of the suspicion and circumstantial evidence that points to Barry Bonds as having used PEDs during the latter stages of his career. Those thoughts, innuendos and suspicions have been enough to keep Bonds, arguably one of the five best players in major league history, from even receiving 40% of the vote.
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This decision to ignore Bonds, and other suspected PED users like Roger Clemens, is utterly ridiculous. The BBWAA is merely using this platform as a way to trumpet their own self-importance, denying Bonds their votes because he may have used PEDs at a time when the vast majority of baseball was using them. Yes, these are the very same people that voted for Bonds as MVP, and turned a blind eye to the problem until they were forced to examine it due to Congressional hearings.
The idea that the induction of Barry Bonds into the hall of Fame would somehow sully its reputation is ludicrous. Known cheaters, such as spitballer Gaylord Perry or scuffballer Don Sutton, are in the Hall. In fact, Perry even wrote a book detailing his usage of the spitter during his playing career. Yet, the BBWAA just laughed at his ability to continue to use a spitter, and put him in the Hall.
Bonds also would not be the first PED user in the Hall of Fame. For that honor, we can look to Pud Galvin, another former Pirate, albeit 100 years prior to when Bonds put on the uniform. he was championed for taking an elixir that contained monkey testosterone before a game in 1889. No one cared, and when Galvin threw a shutout, his usage of the Brown-Sequard elixir was even championed as prove of the marvels of modern medicine.
Let us also look at the different eras of baseball. Players are not being penalized for playing during the Dead Ball Era. They are not penalized for playing before integration, when some of the best baseball players were not allowed in the majors. Players that were hopped up on amphetamines are allowed to be in the Hall. Should we just pretend that Barry Bonds, who was the greatest offensive force of the Steroid Era, did not exist?
Barry Bonds was the greatest player of his era. Regardless of whether or not he took PEDs, in an era when most of the league was on them, is irrelevant. His continual snub from the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame is utterly ridiculous.