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We all know why Barry Bonds did not make it into Cooperstown on his first try: Steroid allegations.
Whether or not those allegations are true, Bonds should have been a no-brainer first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Perhaps the most monumental accolades in baseball are the single-season home run record and the career home run record. Bonds holds both of these, with 73 and 762, respectively.
With Bonds, those numbers just begin to scratch the surface. He finished his career with an all-time most 2,558 walks. The incredible 12 seasons when he led the league in that category went a long way to building that record.
He collected 2,935 hits in his career, and that included all those home runs and another 601 doubles. He created plenty of runs in his career, scoring 2,227 and driving in 1,996.
His two batting titles are pretty impressive. What's even more impressive is the 10 times he led the league in on-base percentage. Or maybe the seven seasons he tops in slugging percentage. Any way you break down this guy's numbers, they are amazing.
He added to his value with his incredible speed and high-quality defense. He won eight Gold Glove awards in the outfield and stole 514 bases in his career. That last number, along with his cumulative home runs, makes him the only player in league history in the 500-500 club.
One thing I could not get away with was ignoring Bonds' greatest season. Many people might assume that means the season when he hit 73 home runs, but surprisingly, he topped that. In 2004, Bonds took home his seventh and final MVP award, when he took home the NL batting crown with a .362 average. Also, he walked an incredible 232 times that season, helping him to a .609 on-base percentage. His 45 home runs and 27 doubles helped him toward the .812 slugging percentage that he posted during that season.
Regardless of the veracity of the PED allegations which taint his records, the numbers Bonds compiled are just too spectacular to be ignored. He played during an era when many of the players were using some sort of performance-enhancer, and he was head and shoulders above the field. The measure of quality in sports players has always been how he stands up against his peers, and Bonds stands head and shoulders above most of his.