Bonds sounds off on Hall of Fame exclusion with candid take

Bonds sounds off on Hall of Fame exclusion with candid take originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Barry Bonds needs no introduction, with a mile-long list of accolades heaped upon the Home Run King throughout his 22-year MLB career between the Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates.

But there's one honor the legendary slugger is missing, and Bonds recently responded to his longtime exclusion from the National Baseball Hall of Fame with some brutal honesty.

The former Giant opened up on the "Hollywood Swingin' " podcast, telling hosts Stephen Bishop and Jerry Hairston Jr. the entire situation makes "zero sense" to him while arguing his case.

"Yeah, does it bother you? Sure. I’m human, I’m not some wall sitting up here [who] doesn’t care," Bonds said. "Sure, it bothers you. But at the same time, I also know who I am. And the thing is that people have to understand ... I was vindicated. I went to the court, I was in federal court, and I won my case, 100 percent.

"Where is the vindication of me in my own sport? That’s what bothers me."

After falling short in 10 years on the writers' ballot, Bonds most recently was denied entry into Cooperstown by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee in a December vote. The group, which consists of former players, MLB executives and members of the media, provides a secondary route to the Hall of Fame for players who weren't voted in on the traditional baseball writers' ballot.

The seven-time MVP, 14-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner finished his career with an MLB-record 762 homers to go with 2,935 hits and 514 stolen bases, but his connection to performance-enhancing drugs ultimately kept him from getting into the Hall of Fame over the last decade.

"I appealed that charge, and I won. I’m not under federal, I’m not a criminal of any kind, I’m not anything," Bonds told Bishop and Hairston. "[My] Major League Baseball records are still there, and I try to tell everybody this ... I don’t care if they want to judge athletes on performance enhancing drugs or not, it doesn’t matter. Major League Baseball, and let’s get this clearly and straight, had a rule and has rules, OK?

"Whether they were broken or not broken, there were rules, some rules. My era, there was no rules."

Bonds argued that even in the case of players who have been suspended by MLB for breaking the league's rules, those athletes aren't then punished by the Hall of Fame. He didn't mention any names, but a few certainly come to mind.

"Why is the Hall of Fame punishing me? It doesn’t make sense," Bonds said.

It isn't the end of the road for Bonds when it comes to being voted into the Hall of Fame, though he has to wait until at least 2026. This year's committee will look at managers, executives and umpires, and the following year will be dedicated to players who took the field before the year 1980. Bonds will have another shot to get onto the Contemporary Baseball Player ballot the following year.

Bonds went on to say he still believes he'll make it through the elusive doors of Cooperstown. He lamented the fact that he never got to stand as a Hall of Famer alongside the late Willie McCovey, who once called Bonds' exclusion "a sin," along with other players he has idolized and played alongside throughout his career who since have passed away.

The 58-year-old is hopeful his mother is alive when it happens, he added, and that he himself lives to see the day.

"It’s not over ... Every three years it comes up," Bonds said. "There is a possibility, and I belong with my teammates in that Hall of Fame, 100 percent."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast