Welcome to what I hope will be a new TSB feature: I’d Like An Argument Please
The idea is self-explanatory. I’ll post a topic, we’ll argue about it. Having an argument should be easy for our bunch. My challenge is to make the subject worth arguing about.
Here’s today’s argument: Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame?
Up until now the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) have had a relatively easy time dealing with the issue of PED’s and player performance. Most of the obvious candidates for the Hall, McGwire and Palmeiro chief among them, have had a mixed enough record that the Baseball Writers have been able to say “no” and have that judgment be (more or less) accepted. The relatively easy time of it runs out for the BBWAA runs out this year. The deadline for balloting for 2013 candidates is December 31st. Here’s the list of eligible candidates. Two names immediately jump off the list: Bonds and Clemens. We may return and look at Clemens at some point — today we’ll only consider Bonds.
First, a personal note: I am a lifelong Dodger fan. As a fan the Giants are the enemy. As such, I never want them to win anything. Ever. Add to that the clear fact that Barry Bonds seems to be an azzhat of the highest order. If there was a Turd Hall of Fame he’d be an all timer. First ballot. In many ways he seems to have embodied all that is wrong with professional sport in the US. Selfish, brash, unapproachable, and in all likelihood, starting in around 1999, a PED user.
But despite all of that. Barry Lamar Bonds clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Here’s the case:
From 1986-1998, the period of time during which no one is alleging that Bonds used steroids, his cumulative average stat line looks like this:
.290 avg / .411 OBP / .556 slugging percentage / 31.6 home runs / 34 stolen bases
Those numbers alone are great. Limit them to 92-98 and the numbers are even more spectacular: .308/.445/.619/39/33.
Additionally in that period, Bonds won 8 Gold Gloves and 3 Most Valuable Player Awards. In 1996 he became only the second player ever to reach the 40(HR)/40 (SB) club. In 1998 he became the first player ever to reach the 400/400 club in the same categories. Sabremetrics guru Bill James rated him Baseball’s number 1 player of the decade of the 90’s . Using cumulative statistics through 1997 The Sporting News ranked Bonds the 34th best player of all time (ranked #1 among then active players).
If he had never played another game after 1998, Bonds would have been elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2004. Regardless of allegations of PED use, or anything else, Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall. What you do with his numbers after that, whether an asterisk, a special wing in the Hall or whatever, if he is not elected inot the Hall this year it will be a “travesty, a sham, a mockery, a traveshamockery…”