On Tuesday afternoon, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted on the 2020 Hall of Fame inductees. They settled on Derek Jeter and Larry Walker.
Good for Jeter and Walker, two tremendous baseball players who very much deserve that honor. But it’s hard to care much about who was voted in, when who was left out feels like a bigger story.
Yet again, San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds did not earn the 75% vote needed to enter the Hall. He climbed a tiny bit closer, but is still a ways off.
Barry Bonds' Hall of Fame voting percentages through the years:— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) January 21, 2020
2013: 36.2 percent
2014: 34.7 percent
2015: 36.8 percent
2016: 44.3 percent
2017: 53.8 percent
2018: 56.4 percent
2019: 59.1 percent
2020: 60.7 percent
In the coming days, I’ll have a piece or two on the ridiculousness and sadness of the greatest home run hitter the sport has ever seen - and a seven-time Most Valuable Player - not being honored as one of the best or most impactful baseball players in history.
But until then, I want you to read some other people’s thoughts on the matter.
There is a new wrinkle in the Bonds Hall of Fame discussion, however. Somehow, someway, we have a different angle to explore. Thanks to the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and who knows how many other teams, we now have a better sense of scale when it comes to different baseball scandals.
One of the greatest baseball players in history was, yet again, not inducted into a museum dedicated to the greatest baseball players in history (Bonds was listed on 60.7 percent of the ballots), which means the National Baseball Hall of Fame continues to operate like a Bag of Chips Hall of Fame that doesn’t include Cool Ranch Doritos. Can’t let something in with MSG, the pure hearts cry, even as more and more MSG-dusted snacks waltz right through and get inducted. It remains baffling.
. . .
A sport that can’t guarantee fair competition between teams is a sport in an existential crisis.
Teams with a bunch of steroid-puffed goons were teams that sent fans home happy.
At the same publication, Jayson Stark laid out the sad reality that Bonds will likely never get the call:
Oh, maybe the appearance of A-Rod on the 2022 ballot will reignite the always-entertaining PED debate, because you just can’t beat the near-theatrical irony of Bonds’ and Clemens’ final year converging with A-Rod’s first. But is there any scenario in which the presence of Alex Rodriguez actually helps Bonds and Clemens pile up dozens of new votes?
If you can concoct a good theory for that, let me know. But I can’t see one. Which means it now appears that Induction Day for Bonds and Clemens will be arriving, well, never.
Meanwhile at NBC Sports Bay Area, Alex Pavlovic pointed out that a few of Bonds’ teammates - including Jeff Kent - received enough votes to stay on the ballot next year.
Congrats to Jeter and Walker, but . . . yeesh.