Good morning, baseball fans.
I wish I had better news for you this morning. But although the Winter Meetings officially kicked off yesterday, there have not been any moves of note thus far by the San Francisco Giants (at least as of the time this is being written). Meaning there is only one thing we can talk about this morning.
Barry Bonds, one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball, was once again denied a spot in the Hall of Fame. Bonds spent 10 unsuccessful years on the regular ballot, before he was once again given an opportunity to be voted in, this time by the Contemporary Baseball Era committee.
This committee was comprised of Hall of Famers, MLB Executives and members of the media/baseball historians. In order to make it in, players would need 12 of 16 voters to vote for them.
The only player to get in via this committee was Fred McGriff, who received a unanimous vote. And good for him, no complaints here. But like, the vote distribution sure was something.
I know that’s a bit hard to read, so I’ll break it down. Aside from McGriff, Don Mattingly received eight votes, Curt Schilling received seven votes, Dale Murphy received six votes, and Bonds, Albert Belle, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmiero each received fewer than four.
Fewer than four.
For the reigning home run king. Baseball royalty. One of the best to play the game. There will never be any justification for Bonds’ continued exclusion that makes it valid. You can’t say Bonds doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame due to performance enhancing substances, while also inducting David Ortiz (who actually tested positive for PEDs, unlike Bonds) into the hall earlier this year.
Why is suspicion of PEDs worthy of keeping Bonds out, but actually testing positive for them okay for Ortiz?
I, personally, struggle with supporting Bonds vocally anymore because of his history of domestic violence. But, as Robert W. Cohen writes in his 2009 book “Baseball Hall of Fame — or Hall of Shame?” once you’ve already let in Ty Cobb, how can you exclude anyone else?
They’re not voting in the Hall of Good People Who Never Did Terrible Things and Also Happened to Play Baseball. The character ship has long since sailed. And it seems like PEDs only matter if it’s someone that wasn’t nice enough to the baseball writers during their career.
Without any kind of consistency in voting criteria, it makes the Hall of Fame seem unnecessarily arbitrary and not at all a celebration of the players that made the game what it is. Instead, it feels like more of an ego party for those who use their ability to vote in order to exact punishment against those they’ve long held grudges against.
That is not a celebration of baseball’s greatest achievements. It’s just pathetic.
Barry Bonds will get another shot in 2025. And then I’ll probably be writing another post just like this.