If anyone knows whether an MLB slugger's resume is Hall of Fame-worthy, it's Ken Griffey Jr. The former center fielder who hit 630 home runs for the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox was inducted into the 2016 class with the highest percentage of votes of all time at 99.3 percent.
Prior to waving the green flag at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Griffey was asked whether fellow slugger Barry Bonds, who despite being MLB's all-time home run leader with 762 is not in the Hall of Fame because of steroid allegations, should be inducted. Griffey said he believes so, per CSNBayArea.com.
"Yeah. I think that overall, when you look what people have done, yeah," he said. "It's not my vote, so I can't vote for him. But if you look at what he's done, those numbers speak for themselves."
It wasn't a glowing endorsement, but still a positive one, especially coming from a guy who most fans believe is the poster boy for those who played the game the right way. Bonds, on the other hand, while never admitting to, or being caught, using performance-enhancing drugs, is widely thought to have abused steroids.
But like Griffey said, his numbers are hard to argue against:
|Barry Bonds Career Numbers|
Despite the amazing resume, Bonds received just 44.3 percent of the Hall of Fame votes this year, falling short of the 75 percent needed to be enshrined. If there is a silver lining for Bonds, it's that he was up nearly 8 percent from his total in last year's vote after holding steady around 35 percent from 2013 to 2015.
Bonds did not hold back Saturday when he was asked if he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, per ESPN.com:
It would be odd if Bonds said he wasn't worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame, but the fact that Griffey is in his corner can only help him. He is one of the most respected players in the history of the game, and with the human element involved in voting (sports writers), there is a chance an opinion like this could gain Bonds some votes.
Jeff Pearlman of the New York Times thinks it's "shameful" that Bonds, who became the Miami Marlins hitting coach in the offseason, is allowed to be part of an MLB team, sharing this meme via Twitter:
What's significant about that picture—whether it's accurate or not—is that Bonds' size as his career progressed was one of the main reasons he was suspected of PED use. Now that it appears as though he has slimmed down again, the questions will continue to follow him.
As time goes on and voters stop caring, or remembering, as much about the steroid era, Bonds may have a chance to get in. He has a long way to go, but if he does make it, he may need to thank Griffey for jump-starting the process.