Bonds hopes to see doors to Hall open on second try
Superstar became baseball's all-time home run king in 22 seasons with Pirates, Giants
Barry Bonds is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the second time. The results of the voting will be revealed Wednesday. You can watch the announcement show live exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET as part of a three-hour live show beginning at noon. On Thursday, MLB.com and MLB Network will air the news conferences featuring the electees live from New York at 11 a.m. ET.
NEW YORK -- Barry Bonds will be watching again out of the corner of his eye when the National Baseball Hall of Fame announces the results of the writers' votes for the Class of 2014. But he doesn't intend to be paying close attention.
The all-time home run leader might be near his home in Los Angeles enjoying his most recent passion, cycling, for miles along the beach. But the former Giants left fielder said he doesn't want to comment again on the process when recently reached by e-mail.
This past year, his first on the ballot, Bonds finished with 36.2 percent, as eligible voters of the Baseball Writers' Association of America did not elect anyone to the Class of 2013, the first in which many players from the PED era were eligible. Craig Biggio was the leading vote-getter at 68.2 percent after amassing 3,060 hits in 20 seasons, all with the Astros.
"I do really care," Bonds said last year about being elected to the Hall of Fame. "I may say I don't, but I do really care. I've been through a lot in my life, so not too many things bother me. Making the Hall of Fame, would it be something that's gratifying because of what I've sacrificed? Sure. Baseball has been a big part of our lives. We've sacrificed our bodies. It's the way we made our living."
As in any election to the Hall, a player must garner at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected. Last year, of the 569 ballots cast, 427 votes were needed for election. Bonds' name appeared on 206 of the ballots, finishing ninth overall.
Bonds knows he is considered one of the most polarizing players in baseball history. For 22 years, he did things his way, going against the grain inside and outside of baseball. The end of Bonds' career was marked by the BALCO investigation, suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use and the federal court case that resulted in one guilty count for obstruction of justice. He was exonerated on charges of perjury.
Bonds said he wishes he had done some things differently. "But I can't turn back the clock now," he said. "Time has passed. Wounds for me have healed."
On paper, Bonds would undoubtedly have been a first-ballot Hall of Fame contender simply on merit. Playing his first seven seasons for the Pirates and his last 15 for the Giants, Bonds holds the all-time records for homers in a career (762) and a single season (73), as well as walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688). In the popular metrics of today, Bonds is third in overall Wins Above Replacement behind Babe Ruth and Cy Young, third in offensive WAR, sixth with a .444 on-base percentage, sixth with a .607 slugging percentage and fourth with a 1.051 OPS, which combines on-base and slugging percentages. He won the National League MVP seven times -- three times before 1998, the demarcation line for when many believe the PED era began.
The son of the late Bobby Bonds and the godson of Giants icon and Hall of Famer Willie Mays, Bonds is the only player in MLB history to amass more than 500 homers and 500 stolen bases, finishing with 514 steals. No one else is close -- not even Mays, who had 660 homers and 338 steals in 22 seasons. When his career ended in 2007, Bonds finished 65 hits short of 3,000, four RBIs shy of 2,000 and with 2,227 runs scored.
Hank Aaron, whom Bonds passed on Aug. 7, 2007, with his 756th homer to take the all-time lead, is the only player to amass more than 700 homers, 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBIs and 2,000 runs scored.
Bonds, 49, has said he'd like to get back into baseball as a hitting instructor.
"I'm an expert in baseball, and I don't even have a job," Bonds said. "I'm an expert, more so than a lot of people out there. It should be my career until I'm dead. I should be one of the instructors. I think I've earned it."
Meanwhile, he'll await his second opportunity at the Hall of Fame. He knows by rule there will be 13 more times on the BBWAA ballot, as long as he maintains the requisite 5 percent of the vote each year.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.