I am not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. Barry Bonds was a Hall of Famer before the steroids issue and he is a Hall of Famer after the steroids issue.
The Hall of Fame should be home to the best baseball players who have ever lived. And if that’s the case, Barry Bonds is a lock.
We’re all aware that his numbers increased when there should have been a decline, and despite what he did or didn’t do, the numbers are astonishing, ranking in the top 10 of every major category (courtesy of MLB.com):
762 Home Runs (No. 1), 2558 BB (No. 1), 688 IBB (No. 1), 1440 Extra Base Hits (No. 2), 1996 RBI (No.3), 2227 Runs (No. 3), 1.051 OPS (No.4), .444 OBP/.607 SLG, eight Gold Gloves, seven MVPs
Am I saying that I condone steroids or performance enhancers?
No, but what I am saying is that the players in the alleged “steroid” era are the best of their generation and keeping them out of the Hall of Fame is a disgrace to the game.
Did Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa make 1998 one of the best seasons ever?
Of course they did.
Did they not literally save the game when fans were disgusted at what happened with the strike?
Of course they did. We were all glued to every single one of their at-bats, watching history in the making.
Remember that Major League Baseball was not testing and not suspending players for using enhancers, and Major League Baseball has not wiped away any of their records since all this was brought to the forefront.
However, since testing came about, suspensions have occurred and countless big-time names have been reprimanded—Rafael Palmeiro, Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera to name a few.
Now, with all the naysayers proclaiming that these players shouldn’t be allowed in, where were you when home runs were being hit out in record numbers? Media, players, coaches, managers and general managers all looked the other way or had no idea while they cheered for the home runs with the rest of us.
If you were on board in the late 1990s, you’re on board now.
Was what these players did right?
Of course not, but that does not mean they’re not the best the game has ever seen.
Bonds still had to hit the ball. And considering that he got maybe one pitch, at best, to hit per at-bat, I say he deserves a lot of credit.
It’s disgusting if Bonds does not get in on the first ballot. What is keeping him out for two, three or four years going to prove?
And considering there are players in the Hall of Fame who were worse human beings than him, this is a no-brainer.
Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro and the rest all had to go on the field everyday and produce. They were the best of their time and everybody knew it. Despite being pitched around, dealing with specialty roles and facing the best pitching the game has ever seen, they still dominated the game and made it look very easy.
Barry Bonds is the greatest player this game has ever seen, and he should be given its highest honour.
Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.