After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League Baseball’s legends, Barry Bonds has just one more swing at becoming a member of the Hall of Fame.
The former Giants slugger and career home run leader appeared on 248 of 401 ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America in voting results released Tuesday by the Hall of Fame. Bonds’ 61.8 percent fell short of the 75 percent required to be elected to Cooperstown by 53 votes.
Bonds, who got 1.1 percent more of the vote this year over last year, is eligible for traditional Hall of Fame voting for a 10th and final time next year. It is possible that he could be selected by one of the other committees for the Hall down the road, but it will come with less fanfare.
No players were elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, only the second time since 1997 that has happened. The Hall of Fame ceremony, scheduled for July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y., will still go on with the two members of the 2020 class, Derek Jeter and Larry Walker, to be inducted. The 2020 ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pitcher Curt Schilling came the closest to election to the Hall this time, falling 16 votes shy at 71.1 percent. Other players with Giants or A’s connections on the ballot were shortstop Omar Vizquel (49.1 percent), second baseman Jeff Kent (32.4), Tim Hudson (5.2), Barry Zito (0.2), Nick Swisher (0) and Dan Haren (0). Players needed to achieve 5 percent of the vote to remain on next year’s ballot.
Bonds’ stats are among the most gaudy in baseball history and would put him in the conversation as one of the best hitters of all time: 14-time All-Star, MLB-record seven Most Valuable Player awards, eight-time Gold Glove winner, MLB-record 762 career homers, single-season record 73 homers, MLB-record 2,558 walks (record 688 intentional walks), 2,935 career hits, two batting titles and 514 stolen bases. Bonds is the only player in MLB history with 500 homers and 500 stolen bases.
But his image has been tarnished and his accomplishments questioned following his well-documented connection to the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs and the scandal around Burlingame’s BALCO lab. Bonds is arguably the face of MLB’s Steriod Era, which came before the sport cobbled together a policy on PEDs. Many steroids are illegal without a prescription from a physician.
Bonds’ final season was 2007 with the Giants. He became eligible for election after the mandatory five-year waiting period. In a very telling move by BBWAA voters, no one was elected to the Hall in Bonds’ first year of eligibility of 2013. Bonds received only 36.2 percent of the vote. After a slight dip to 34.7 in 2014, his vote percentage has increased each year, reaching 60.7 a year ago.