BBWAA Gets Barry Bonds Baseball Hall of Fame’s Decision All Wrong

The letter arriving at the National Baseball Hall of Fame vote includes a brief set of guidelines and a link to the player’s biographies. There is a reminder that the ballots must be mailed before December 31st. At the top of the letter is a motto in large, bold letters.

Save history. Honor excellence. Connecting generations.

For the 10th consecutive year, a significant portion of the Baseball Writers Association of America ignored those words. In his final year on the ballot, Barry Bonds again failed to qualify for induction, and it wasn’t particularly close. Bonds finished with 66 percent of the vote, well shy of the 75 percent needed for a plaque in Cooperstown.

Keep history? No one who has ever played the game hit more home runs or walked more. Honor excellence? Bonds has won seven MVP awards, made 14 All-Star teams, owns 12 Silver Slugger Awards and even added eight Gold Gloves. Connecting generations? Few have ever done that better than Bonds, one of the biggest reasons the sport’s most stunning margin is on Third and King.

Bonds is a regular there these days and always gets a standing ovation from several generations of fans, but in recent years he has shied away from talking about the fate of his Hall of Fame. In the middle of his decade on the ballot, Bonds was named special counsel to Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. He then indicated that he was not interested in in-depth discussions about the annual vote.

“There’s no point in talking about it,” Bonds said at the time.

Bonds knew he couldn’t do anything, not when such a large number of voters had stubbornly dug in. The first three years stuck on about a third of the ballots, and it wasn’t until his fifth year that he was at least on the list. half of them. He received support every winter, but progress was too slow, often highlighting the hypocrisy of it all.

In 2016, former Commissioner Bud Selig was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Today’s Game Era Committee. The MLB.com story about his election does not contain any mention of PEDs. The only time performance-enhancing drugs came up was when Selig was praised for being “a proponent of a new drug testing program.” The man who turned a blind eye to the PED era because it was good for business is in the Hall of Fame; the players who did well are not, although it is clear that some managed to slip by.

Bonds isn’t the only one being punished for his association with PEDs. He falls off the grid at the same time as Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, but the group’s 10th year came with an added twist. The only player chosen on Tuesday was David Ortiz, who reportedly tested positive in 2003 during what would have been anonymous tests to pave the way for today’s stricter rules.

In his first and only year on the ballot, Ortiz finished 47 votes ahead of Bonds. You had to do some serious mental gymnastics to tick one box on your ballot and not the other.

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Bonds and Clemens were not far behind Ortiz in the early vote, but as has been the case so often in recent years, bonds plummeted once the full results were released. Last year there was a 23 percent difference in the amount of support bonds received from public and private ballots, which is a perfect icing on the cake of this flawed process. There is a large group of writers who were only too happy to take a front row seat during the steroid era, but many of them have chosen to keep the best players they’ve watched anonymously from the Hall of Fame.

All the writers — those who voted for Bonds and those who didn’t — received the same letter late last year. At the very top, about an inch above the motto, are the words “National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.” That should have served as a reminder.

This is simply a museum of baseball, but the most feared batter the game has ever seen won’t be there.

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