January 9, 2013
Cooperstown 2013: Barry Bonds
First Year on Ballot
Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-1992) and San Francisco Giants (1993-2007)
Career batting average of .298 with 2935 hits, 762 home runs, 2227 runs, 1996 RBI and 514 stolen bases. Ranks within the top ten all-time in home runs, runs created, walks, runs, RBI, total bases, on base percentage, slugging percentage and games played. Lone member of the 500 home run-500 stolen base club. One of only four players to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season. Tied with his father, Bobby, for most seasons with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases (5) and are the only father-son members of the 30–30 club. In 2001, set Major League record by hitting 73 home runs in one season. Seven-time National League MVP (1990, 1992–1993 and 2001–2004). Eight-time Gold Glove winner (1990–1994 and 1996–1998). 12-Time Silver Slugger winner (1990–1994, 1996–1997 and 2000–2004). 14-time All-Star (1990, 1992–1998, 2000–2004 and 2007).
I can give you 762 reasons as to why the Home Run King should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but I'm not going to start with the All-Time Home Run Record. Let's go back to the beginning. Barry Bonds made his Major League debut on May 30, 1986 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and that's the day that baseball fans were introduced to one of the greatest players of All-Time. Bonds didn't win Rookie of the Year, but did manage to lead all National League rookies with 16 homers.
It wasn't until 1990 when Bonds really started to show us he was on another level than other Major League players. He hit .301 with 33 homers, 52 stolen bases, 104 runs scored and 114 RBI. It was the year for a lot of firsts for Bonds. He was selected to his first of 14 All-Star Games, won his first of eight Gold Glove Awards, was awarded his first of a dozen Silver Slugger Awards and, of course, took home his first of a record seven National League MVP awards.
Bonds continued to dominate year in and year out for the Pirates. He went on to sign as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants on December 8, 1992 (six-year, $43.75 million). Which made him the highest paid player at that time.
It's been speculated that Bonds started using steroids in the early 2000's. Which is why, I just want to point out his numbers in the 90's.
Bonds batted .302 and hit 361 homers in the 90's. He averaged 34 stolen bases, 108 RBI, 109 runs and 36 homers a season. In 1996, Bonds joined Jose Canseco in the 40-40 club (40 homers, 40 stolen bases). But let's also not forget his eight All-Star appearances, eight Gold Glove awards, seven Silver Slugger awards and three MVP awards. In 2001, Bill James had ranked players through the 1999 season, and ranked Bonds as the 16th greatest player of All-Time. He also said Bonds was the best player in the 90's by a huge margin, and the most unappreciated superstar of James lifetime.
If you look up all the numbers yourself, you will see that Bonds was a lock to be in the Hall of Fame prior to the steroid era. After 22 seasons of giving his life to baseball, Bonds’ enshrinement into the Hall of Fame now rests in the hands of the writers. When it was all said and done, Bonds career numbers included a .298 batting average, with 762 homers, 1996 RBI, 2227 runs scored, 514 stolen bases and 2558 walks.
Barry Bonds contributed more to his team/baseball than any other player did in their career during the same era. That alone, should have him locked in to be a first ballot Hall of Famer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Steven Robles covers all the latest San Francisco Giants news and rumors over at SF Giants Rumors. You can also follow all of his work on both Facebook and Twitter.