Cooperstown’s class of 2013 might be one of the most interesting Hall of Fame classes in the history of sports. The reason why the class is fascinating is due to the fact that a lot of baseball’s best players over the past twenty years are all on the ballot together, including players with a notorious PED past.
Outside of the players who have been on the ballot but not elected yet (Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, etc.), we have some very interesting first-timers like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza. For the purpose of this article, however, I am only going to touch on one of the players up for nomination, and that person is Barry Lamar Bonds.
Barry Bonds was the best baseball player in my generation. While others may claim that is a matter of opinion, I feel that is a matter of fact. No one has put up the numbers Bonds has put up in his career, steroids or not. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about PED use in that era and it’s completely ignorant to discredit some of the players when no one knows who actually used and who didn’t. Heck, Eric Gagne recently admitted that 70 percent of his Dodgers’ teammates used some sort of PED, so why must the best players get punished? They’re punished just because they were “caught”.
Although it’s pretty obvious Bonds cheated, it was never proven he actually did use steroids in his time with the San Francisco Giants. Even if he did, who cares? Bonds was a Hall of Fame player before his late-career spike.
Seriously people, just look at Bonds’ Baseball-Reference page and tell me he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. From 2001-2004, Bonds’ OBP was .559. FIVE! FIFTY! NINE! His slugging percentage was over .800, meaning four out of every five times at the plate, a Bonds’ batted ball resulted in a base. Even if Bonds was a cyborg, that is simply ridiculous.
It also should be added that pitchers were not immune to PED use. Heck, Clemens is a perfect example of a pitcher who allegedly used. It’s not like Bonds wasn’t facing roided up pitchers as well.
I fully understand Bonds not making it on the first ballot, but keeping him out of Cooperstown entirely is erroneous. If the Hall of Fame is going to be this stingy about this era, they need to just open up a Steroid Era wing in their Hall of Fame. Don’t hide the fact this era existed in the game and acknowledge it. You can’t tell me that every player inducted into the Hall of Fame was clean, so why discredit all these players?
Barry Bonds did things we never knew were possible. That in itself proves he belongs in Cooperstown.