Five athletes were admitted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday, but one plaque stood out for its serious look and lack of a smile. It was that of Barry Bonds, the former Giants star.
Yet Bonds revealed an unusually cordial, upbeat side at his induction into the BASHOF, which could be the most prominent Hall of Fame he ever gets into in his life.
“I don’t want to rank anything,” Bonds told a small group of reporters at the Westin St. Francis hotel. “They’re all good. They’re all great. Home is nice. This is wonderful. Growing up as a kid, I never thought this was going to happen.”
Just as a lot of people believe Bonds will never be seen in the baseball Hall of Fame, either. The all-time home run leader has received token support in the last three elections because of his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs, although there is no mention of that fact in his 226-word career description.
Unlike his days as a player, however, this Barry is not quite contrary.
“Right now, this is the Bay Area of Hall,” said Bonds, who wrote a speech for the first time in his life. “You know, if I sat up here and I talked about it, it’s me against — how many of you guys are here? So the story can come out any way it can. See, I learned that lesson as I got to 50 [years old] — stay out of those conversations and enjoy what’s in front of me.”
Asked what it would mean to be in the Hall of Fame with Willie Mays, the Giants legend and his godfather, Bonds told The San Francisco Examiner, “When that times comes, I will give you that answer. How’s that? That’s the best answer I can give you.”
The BASHOF also opened its doors to Dusty Baker, Roger Maltbie, Franklin Mieuli and Jonny Moseley. Bonds expressed hope that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would join then soon. Like Bonds, Brady attended Serra High School.
Brady was involved in his own controversy, Deflategate, that has grabbed headlines in recent days, one on which Bonds also refused to comment.
“Every time we run into each other, we have a lot of fun together,” said Bonds, who last saw Brady at the Kentucky Derby one year ago. “He’s a great guy. I love him to death.”