Bonds' latest HOF snub continues to defy all reasonable logic originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
It’s not hard to understand how Barry Bonds might have spent much of 2022 seeking objective reasons why he was denied the privilege afforded David Ortiz last January.
Wondering why Ortiz was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – on the first ballot – while he was rejected for 10 consecutive years.
Could Bonds be blamed for questioning how he was kept out all those years – on the basis of subjective conclusions regarding performance-enhancing drugs – but Ortiz actually could test positive in 2003 and waltz in?
Bonds was among eight retired players given players another chance Sunday. And, once again, he was shut out.
Fred McGriff was the only player on the ballot voted in by Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee, group of 16 men and women from a pool of retired Hall Fame players, current and former Major League Baseball executives and media.
Needing 12 of the 16 votes to be elected, Bonds received less than four votes, the Hall of Fame announced. McGriff was an unanimous selection.
The bust of the former San Francisco Giants slugger, the career leader in home runs with 762, is not allowed to be in the same room as that of Big Papi. Bonds will have to wait until 2025, when the Contemporary committee next convenes to take a vote.
Make it make sense.
The argument against Bonds since he became eligible in 2013 centered largely on his sustained excellence in defiance of the aging process. He had ridiculously great seasons in his late 30s, when the vast majority of athletes are declining. In 2004, when he turned 40, he posted one of most absurd seasons on record and won his fourth consecutive National League MVP award. His body underwent appreciable change.
While there is no available “physical evidence,” the “physique” evidence of PEDs was overwhelming.
For that, and the astronomical statistics he achieved under broad suspicion, the gatekeepers of Hall of Fame purity voted year after year from 2013 to 2022 to effectively block the doors to the most decorated player in the 151-year history of Major League Baseball.
All because one of Bonds’ personal trainers came forth to say his client used PEDs. There is trail of circumstantial evidence, but no “smoking gun.”
Ortiz tested positive for PEDs and last summer gave celebratory speech in Cooperstown. Even before that, he was asked about testing positive and, well, offered neither confirmation nor denial.
“We had someone coming out with this one list that you don’t know what anybody tested positive for,” Ortiz told reporters after the release of the 2022 balloting results. “All of the sudden, people are pointing fingers at me but then we started being drug tested and I never failed a test. What does that tell us?”
It tells us that once testing began in 2004, Ortiz went from known PED user to suspected PED user. His statistics took a giant leap in 2003, another leap in 2004 and another every year until 2007.
In 2016, Papi’s final season, at age 40, he led the American League in RBI (127), slugging (.609) and OPS (1.021). He also walloped 38 home runs.
Ortiz, however, might have stamped his ticket to the Hall three years earlier, not with what he did but what he said.
“This is our f-----g city,” Ortiz bellowed during a speech at Fenway Park in the wake of the April 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured almost 300.
That became the rallying cry for a wounded city. Papi went from popular ballplayer and symbol of postseason glory to certified regional icon. A bridge near Fenway was renamed: David “Big Papi’ Ortiz bridge. There was no stopping his train to Cooperstown.
We bring all this up not to diminish Papi’s baseball exploits but to cite other factors that might have opened for him doors closed to Bonds.
Papi invites comparison with Bonds because of the stark contrast in treatment. A known user gets a pass, a suspected user does not.
There also happens to be list of suspected or admitted users. Jeff Bagwell and Pudge Rodriguez were suspected of using PEDs and each took the conventional route to the Hall. Mike Piazza acknowledged using PEDs, androstenedione in particular, and was welcomed into the Hall.
Given such facts, how does one safeguard the credibility of the process?
If the reasons for excluding Bonds from entering the Hall by conventional process really are as superficial as blaming his richly earned charmless reputation, those are droppings straight from the backside of the bull.
The Committee couldn’t quite get past the grumbles of hypocrisy and reach a rational conclusion. Maybe next time.