Barry Bonds should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer

Former Sun Devil Barry Bonds has the all-time career home run record but no Hall of Fame plaque

The home run king of baseball is not a Hall of Famer.

Former Sun Devils slugger Barry Bonds is Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in home runs, but the home run king has yet to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Why? Because he was most likely a steroid user.

In 2003, investigators raided the home of Bonds’ personal trainer Greg Anderson in order to try to find documents linking Bonds with steroid use. 

Eight years later, Anderson was taken into custody for not testifying in court against Bonds, who at the time was on trial on perjury charges regarding whether or not Bonds himself took illegal substances.

Though federal prosecutors would drop the case against Bonds in 2015, to say that Bonds did not take performance-enhancing drugs during his baseball career may be far-fetched.

"The Hall of Fame may be recognizing the wrong thing." Illustration published on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

By 1998, the year Bonds was initially accused of taking steroids, Bonds was 32 years old and past his physical peak.

With that said, the former Giants outfielder would still go on to hit 388 home runs between the ages of 32 and 42 and also smash the single season record for home runs with 73 bombs in 2001 before hanging up his cleats in 2007.

"I don't disqualify players who use performance-enhancing drugs," said Andrew Baggarly, hall of fame voter and Giants beat reporter for the Mercury News. "(It's) too hard to figure out who did what."

For the Sun Devil alumnus slugger to hit roughly half of his career home runs after the age of 32 and hit 73 home runs at age 36 is supernatural.

During his 22 years in the big leagues, split between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants, the home run king would win seven Most Valuable Player awards, two batting average titles, eight Gold Glove awards, and lead the National League in walks 12 times.

To go along with his home run crown, Bonds is also the all-time leader in walks and intentional walks.

Although the use of steroids may have helped Bonds’ home run totals, he certainly did not gain magical powers from injecting a needle into his body.

Even before the start of his alleged steroid use in 1998, Bonds led the National League in walks five times and on base percentage four times. During this time span, he won three of the seven MVP awards.

Also in that span, Bonds averaged 35 stolen bases per year and in 1990 he hit 33 homers and stole 52 bases.

Even with all of the statistical milestones that Bonds has accomplished, he still barely got over 50 percent of the vote on the 2017 ballot.

"I have voted for (Bonds) every year," Baggarly said.

Given how accomplished Bonds has been in his career, it is almost impossible to believe that the former ASU outfielder should not have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Steroid use is certainly cheating and unethical, but his skills go beyond anything the drug could have been able to accomplish.

Reach the columnist at and on twitter @Arizonasian.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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