In a previous post (seen here), I laid out who I would vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame if I had a vote. Needless to say, none to those guys were elected by the Baseball Writers of America today. 5 of my guys were in the Top 6, with Fred McGriff squeaking out just over 20.7% and Dale Murphy at 18.6%. You can see the complete results here courtesy of MLB.com.
What surprised me most was that not one guy was elected. I didn’t expect Barry Bonds and his 762 home runs (most all-time), 2558 walks (most all-time, and 688 of those intentional), 2935 hits, 1996 RBI, 514 stolen bases, 7 MVPs (most all-time), 9 Gold Gloves, 158.1 WAR (3rd best all-time), .444 OBP (4th best all-time), .607 SLG (6th best all-time) not even break 40%. Hell, only 9 guys have played more games than Bonds, 8 guys have more plate appearances (since walks count as a PA, but not at-bats, 30 guys have more ABs), only 2 scored more runs. The guy was good. And I know some of you are going to scream and yell that he only got those numbers because of steroids. Sure, SOME of those numbers are inflated, so let’s look at his numbers through 1998 (it’s been documented that he started using after the Sosa/McGwire Summer of ’98).
From 1986 through 1998, Bonds had 1917 hits, 1364 runs, 411 HRs, 1216 RBI, 445 SBs, 1357 BBs, 3 MVPs, 8 All-Star Game appearances, 9 Gold Gloves, and 7 Silver Sluggers.
Don’t think those are Hall of Fame numbers? Then compare them to Kirby Puckett. In 12 seasons with the Twins, Kirby had 2304 hits, 1071 runs, 207 HRs, 1085 RBI, 134 SBs, 450 BBs, 0 MVP awards (finished 2nd once), 10 ASG appearances, 6 Gold Gloves, and 6 Silver Sluggers.
Now Puckett retired in the middle of the 1996 season because of blurred vision that wasn’t getting better. In 2001, Kirby was elected to the Hall of Fame on 82% of the ballots. What’s the big difference between Bonds through ’98 and Puckett’s career? Personally, I don’t think Kirby had the numbers to garner a HOF call, but I do remember some talk of voters “projecting his numbers if he had been healthy.” But why? The only thing that should count when voting on the Hall of Fame–and this counts for ANY sports Hall of Fame–is what an individual did on the field. From 1986 to 1998, Barry Bonds was one of the best players in the game, and for a while, he was considered the best player in the game. Talk to some people now, and they’ll say he was the greatest player EVER–steroids or no steroids.
Barry Bonds had Hall of Fame numbers before he started using steroids, and it shouldn’t matter that he was a dick to his teammates, the media and other members of his organization for a good portion of his career.
*All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com