Leading Off

Giants shouldn’t wait to retire Barry Bonds’ number

Former baseball player Barry Bonds smiles before a game between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies in San Francisco on July 11.
Former baseball player Barry Bonds smiles before a game between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies in San Francisco on July 11. The Associated Press

Two days after his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez had his No. 45 retired by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

Early next month, Seattle will retire Randy Johnson’s No. 51, which he wore for 10 amazing seasons en route to Cooperstown, N.Y. Biggio’s No. 7 already hangs from the rafters at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, and the Braves retired Smoltz’s No. 29 three years ago.

So when will the Giants retire Barry Bonds’ No. 25?

If they wait for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, it could be a long wait – if that day ever comes.

After an amazing career during which he was a seven-time league MVP and set the career home run record with 762, Bonds’ legacy floats like piece of driftwood in McCovey Cove.

He should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2012 and had his number retired long ago, but he’s been blackballed by a majority of eligible voters from the Baseball Writers Association of America for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, even though he never tested positive or was suspended by Major League Baseball.

Without a smoking gun or a glove that won’t fit, the Department of Justice last week dropped its decadelong steroids prosecution of Bonds, who celebrated the victory with his 51st birthday.

However, it’s unlikely to sway the public opinion that Bonds is guilty of steroids use, and it remains to be seen if it sways BWAA voters.

The clock is ticking; Bonds has just seven years of eligibility left for the Hall.

Bonds’ name and No. 25 belong next to other Giants greats such as Willie Mays (24), Willie McCovey (44), Juan Marichal (27) and Orlando Cepeda (30).

He belongs there now, this season.

Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527, vcontreras@scabee.com, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

  • WHAT TO DO: Baseball, A’s vs. Cleveland, 7:05 p.m., CSNCA: The A’s return home for 11 games, starting with the Indians.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “#Boston is here to support the @Patriots. I will always believe in my team and #TomBrady.” – Boston mayor Marty Walsh, @marty_walsh
  • ON THIS DATE: On July 30, 1976, American Bruce Jenner set the world record in the Olympic decathlon with 8,618 points, breaking Nikolai Avilov’s mark by 164 points.
Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments