Barry Bonds is trending up on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. The all-time home run king has already seen his vote total jump prior to induction day. And though those totals will fall when every ballot is released, Bonds is still on track to one day be elected to the Hall.
Whether he should remains a contentious issue. On stats alone, Bonds should have been a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer. He should have coasted into Cooperstown easily.
But stats don’t make up his full case. Bonds’ career is marred by his alleged steroid use. While he never tested positive, his rumored use is enough for many to keep him out of the Hall of Fame. His accomplishments, while impressive, have been tainted by his willingness to cheat.
That argument may not hold for much longer. As the years have passed, the voters have slowly become more lenient toward players from the steroid era. If this year’s early returns are to be believed, Bonds, the face of that era, will get the call in the near future.
It won’t happen this year, but Bonds’ induction is inevitable. When he does get in, it will signal a major shift in how players from the steroid era are viewed. Their implied use hasn’t necessarily been forgiven, but it has been accepted.
In his fourth year on the ballot, Bonds saw his vote total jump to 44.3 percent. That increase was fairly significant, as it was the first time Bonds has seen that figure jump above 40 percent since he’s been on the ballot. Bonds received 36.2 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. He received 36.8 percent of the vote during his third year. Last year ballot was the first time Bonds saw a significant uptick in his vote totals.
Until this year, of course. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s indispensable ballot tracker at the time of this writing, Bonds has already gained 20 votes in 2017. On the 157 ballots Thibodaux has collected, Bonds has received 69.9 percent of the vote. That figure will decrease once all the ballots are counted, but it still represents a huge uptick for Bonds.View photosBarry Bonds should see his vote total take a step forward this year. (Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)More
WHAT THE SUPPORTERS SAY
762: The amount of home runs hit by Bonds over his career. That’s the most in Major League Baseball history.
164.4 fWAR: That figure is second in MLB history, barely behind Babe Ruth.
Over 22 years in the majors, Bonds hit .298/.444/.607.
He won seven MVP awards, was elected to 14 All-Star games, received eight Gold Glove awards and won 12 Silver Sluggers.
His 2,558 walks is the most of any player all-time. Same with his 688 intentional walks.
Of those 688 intentional walks, 232 of them came in 2004.
That wasn’t even his best season, according to fWAR. In 2002, Bonds hit an incredible .370/.582/.799, with 46 home runs, over 612 plate appearances. That performance earned him a 12.7 fWAR, making it the fifth-best single-season performance of all-time. Bonds’ 2004 season ranks 11th on that same list.
Based on stats alone, there’s not really a case for keeping Bonds out of the Hall. He’s the best player of his era and one of the best players of all-time.View photosBarry Bonds’ Hall of Fame case remains contentious. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)