San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds will be eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame again this season. Is 2020 the year he finally gets in?
The turn of the new year means that it’s time to begin discussing the biggest event on the MLB’s off-season calendar — the Hall of Fame.
While the 2020 class is headlined by surefire inductee and former New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter, there are other pressing questions that need to be answered. Chief among them is where does Barry Bonds stand?
Here’s a look at the reasons why Bonds should be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020, but why he probably won’t be.
There is no shortage of reasons why Barry Bonds should have a bust in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants superstar still holds the distinction of being baseball’s all-time home run king (with 762 career blasts) and was one of the most feared hitters to ever play the game.
He is a 14-time All-Star, a seven-time NL MVP, and an eight-time Gold Glove winner. His 2,558 career walks and 688 career intentional walks are also the most by any player in MLB history.
Baseball fans who never had a chance to see Bonds in his prime need look no further than a San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game on May 28th, 1998.
Down by two runs, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Diamondbacks elected to intentionally walk Bonds rather than giving him an opportunity to swing the bat.
There is perhaps no greater display of the slugger’s greatness than the opposition intentionally walking in a run to avoid the MVP.
Despite having one of the most impressive resumes of all-time, fans know that Bonds’ name carries much more than just baseball excellence. His legacy will forever be tied to allegations of cheating through the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
These accusations are the only reason why Bonds has yet to be elected into the Hall of Fame despite being on the ballot since 2013.
The past several seasons have shown that many voters believe these issues are so serious that the home run leader should be kept out of baseball’s most elite club.
While the ballot results are trending in the right direction, there is still much work to be done if Barry Bonds ever hopes to have a place in Cooperstown.
Since receiving a staggeringly low 36.2 percent of votes in his first year on the ballot in 2013, and an even more shocking 34.7 percent in 2014, Bonds has seen his percentages climb at a promising trajectory.
He received 36.8 percent in 2015, 44.3 in 2016, 53.8 in 2017, and 56.4 percent in 2018. With three years remaining on the ballot, Bonds is closer than ever to the 75 percent necessary for election.
For those of us who believe that it’s foolish to even consider a Hall of Fame without one of the game’s most decorated players, this trend is certainly encouraging.
It seems as though Bonds is able to gather more and more sympathetic toward his cause with each passing year. However, the fact remains that a considerable number of voters would have to have a significant change of heart for him to achieve election this offseason.
The sad reality is that we will likely have to continue waiting before the home run king has a serious chance at election.
2020 represents an opportunity for the slugger to continue his positive trend. If he is able to surpass the 60 percent vote mark, he will remain at a solid pace. If he can pass 65 percent, his eventual selection will seem likely.
The most likely scenario is that Bonds finally passes the 75 percent threshold during his final year of eligibility. I predict that the finality of knowing 2022 is his final opportunity will sway enough votes in his favor.
Each passing year also offers a possibility that younger, more progressive writers will be added to the pool of voters.
Say it with me: “Barry Bonds, Hall of Famer, Class of 2022.”