Barry Bonds has entered into an annual tradition about his legacy in pro baseball. The reigning Home Run King spends every January hoping his name will be called as a new inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Every year he’s excluded due to allegations of steroid use, which still haunt him over a decade after he retired. But, what about this year? Was Bonds finally able to shake his reputation and get in?
Barry Bonds’ legendary MLB career
Bonds’ resume is about as good as a baseball player’s can be. While many dispute his means of becoming the MLB player he was, nobody can question his talent. At his best, Bonds was a hard-hitter and good defender. Teams did not know what to do with him; many opted to walk him instead of risking a home run.
This strategy didn’t work. Bonds has both the single-season and all-time home run records at 73 and 762 respectively. The career .298 hitter batted in 1,966 runs, hit the ball 2,935 times, and posted 601 doubles and 77 triples,
From his first season in 1986 to his last in 2007, Bonds threatened to send the ball out of stadiums. With all of this on his resume, Hall of Fame voters cannot get over his alleged steroid use.
Bonds’ possible steroid use
One can’t discuss baseball between the ’80s and early 2000s without talking about the rampant steroid use. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were both allegedly using steroids when they raced for the single-season home-run record that Bonds eventually captured from McGwire. Roger Clemens has been accused of using steroids and similarly been blackballed from the Hall of Fame.
Bonds’ alleged steroid use reportedly came as a reaction to the fact that others were using and he wanted to keep up. It purportedly began in 1998 under new trainer Greg Anderson. Bonds was connected to BALCO, the lab supplying several big-name players with performance-enhancing drugs.
The battle against BALCO went beyond baseball — all the way to the U.S. Senate. Despite a lot of evidence against Bonds, including fishy monetary exchanges, blood tests, and the repetition of a man named “Barry” all over Anderson’s files, Bonds never failed a drug test and maintains his innocence to this day.
From allegations of undetectable steroids to other preventative measures, people do not buy that Bonds was clean as he broke home-run records. He continues to pay to this day.
Will Barry Bonds ever enter the Hall of Fame?
With every year of eligibility, Bonds receives more votes. But he’s yet to get the 75% of 250 required votes a player needs to enter the Hall of Fame. In 2020, his eighth straight year of eligibility, Bonds received just 60.7% of the required votes. Despite time separating him from his career and a clean record as far as drug tests, voters continue punishing him.
Bonds has two more chances to make it into the Hall of Fame. But if history repeats itself, he will not likely get the votes. MLB has a history of snubbing players based on cheating allegations.
Bonds has served as a coach and remained in the spotlight since his playing days. This won’t be enough to enter the Hall of Fame unless something changes. He may have to live knowing he was one of the best to ever swing a bat, whether steroids helped him or not.
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