Three years into his eligibility for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Barry Bonds is still being intentionally walked.
It’s ironic considering baseball’s all-time home king was issued more intentional passes (688) by pitchers and weak-kneed managers than any player in major-league history.
For the third consecutive year, Bonds fell well short Tuesday of the required 75 percent of nearly 550 votes cast by veterans of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. In 2013, Bonds’ first year of eligibility, he received 36.2 percent of the vote before dipping to 34.7 in 2014. This year, Bonds moved back up to 36.8, but he continues to tread water among a sea of players condemned after using performance-enhancing drugs – though Bonds never tested positive.
Most of the 34 players on this year’s ballot played during the Steroids Era, so how do we really know who was clean and who wasn’t?
We know that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell used PEDS. Both admitted to using androstenedione before it was banned, but they’ll likely enter the Hall of Fame before Bonds. Still, Piazza’s career numbers of 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs flew under the radar while players like Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were chiseled into baseball’s Mount Rushmore of the Steroids Era.
What’s the difference between Piazza, Bagwell and Bonds? Cheating is cheating.
While many BBWAA voters will agree that Bonds and Clemens had Hall of Fame numbers before they were believed to have started using PEDS, the scribes insist they vote for players based on their entire career’s work, not just a portion of it.
Bonds and Clemens may never get into the Hall of Fame unless voters are instructed to take into consideration the era in which the candidate played.
Baseball knew it had a problem with PEDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Jose Canseco and McGwire grew into hulking linebackers, but turned a blind eye.
It’s time voters take players like Bonds into serious consideration instead of just issuing them intentional walks.
– Victor Contreras
What to watch
NBA, Kings vs. Oklahoma City, 7 p.m., CSNCA: The Kings welcome a home-court advantage after a 1-3 trip.