Barry Bonds is the best player of the last 50 years (at least until we have a few more years of Mike Trout). He is one of the handful of greatest to ever play the game- I’ll entertain arguments that he is the best- at worst case top 5. I just went to his BB Reference page, and I thought I had let my 4 year old attack my computer with a sharpie and a highlighter.
7 MVP’s (12(!) Top 5’s). 14 ASG’s. All time HR and BB’s leader.
Some other mesmerizing feats:
- The guy was so good he was intentionally walked 120 times in 2004, which alone would have been 7 behind the league leaders for TOTAL walks that year- Bonds walked 232 times in total
- He had a .609 OBP in ’04, and has 4 of the top 11 OBP seasons of all time
- He owns 4 of the top 8 OPS seasons of all time, including the top 2…best being 1.4217 in ’04.
- Basically, he’s top 10 in almost every meaningful statistic you can imagine.
So why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame? Well, aside from the fact that he’s a notorious asshole, it’s the steroids, stupid.
So he did/probably/admittedly did all kinds of PED’s, especially after he got to SF. Can we also agree that a huge amount of players from his same era also did the same thing? We know that many of the top players were all juiced up. So, why didn’t any of them come close to matching Bonds’ dominance??? If the steroids make that much of a difference, why couldn’t anyone taking them sustain such greatness for such a long period of time?
While we are identifying it as the “steroid era”, let’s talk about eras, shall we. Every generation of players was marked with their own *, when it comes to analyzing the careers and statistics of the players.
Babe Ruth only played against white guys who sold insurance in the winter, pitchers didn’t try to strike people out or throw hard, many of the parks were designed like the mis-guided attempts of 10 year-olds to build the perfect backyard wiffle ball field…but don’t hear people clamoring to yank the Bambino from Cooperstown, do ya?
In the 40’s and 50’s guys were going off to fight wars (of if you’re Joe DiMaggio, on a glorified vacation). It is oft-noted when discussing “what could have been” with the career stats of players of the era…but what about guys who didn’t go serve? Didn’t they face a somewhat watered down competition? Any asterisk there????
And then we get to our best apples to apples comparison…the “greenies” era. Maybe this era gets a pass because greenies is a cute little name, but make no mistake…these guys were hopped up on amphetamines; and almost everyone has admitted to using at one time or another. And make no mistake, these were PED’s. Every athletic commission has deemed them illegal, and if they didn’t enhance performance, guys wouldn’t take them. Much like steroids and HGH during the Bonds era, amphetamines were illegal in the US, but not tested for at the time by MLB.
So, if we have a bunch of admitted pill-poppers in the Hall already, why are we arbitrarily drawing the line at Bonds et al?
Basically, we just need to look at these guys within their own eras…against their peers. If you dominated your league and your peers in your era…it stands to reason you would have done the same in any other era. It’s that simple. Comparing Bonds to Ruth, makes so more sense than comparing Shaq to Mikan, or the Tesla Model 3 to the Model T.
The other argument you hear is about the numbers. Put an asterisk on that number. This number doesn’t mean what it used to. WAAAAHHHHH, get over it.
Games change. Nobody seems to care that “by the numbers” every QB prior to Dan Marino sucks. Or the NBA all-time scoring list penalizes guys who played without the 3 pointer, or shot clock. It’s only with baseball that people obsess about the numbers.
Treat the numbers how you want. In your mind you know that not all home runs are equal. Note these guys’ infractions and shortcomings right on their plaque, too, if it makes you feel better. But for the love of god, you can’t have a HALL of FAME, a tribute to the games’ best players…without perhaps its greatest of all time.