Barry Bonds isn’t exactly campaigning for inclusion in the Hall of Fame when the ballot is released in November, but he strongly believes he belongs in Cooperstown.
“Oh, without a doubt,” Bonds told MLB.com before Tuesday’s fifth anniversary of his 756th home run, which broke Hank Aaron’s longstanding record. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
There are, of course, some doubts among voters. His reputation has taken several hits since he retired in 2007 as baseball’s all-time home run kind with 762. This is the first time his name will appear on the ballot, but writers who elect members of the Hall of Fame have ignored players tied to performance-enhancing drugs, including Mark McGwire, in previous votes.
McGwire wasn’t a seven-time Most Valuable Player, either.
“I respect the Hall of Fame, don’t get me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think we all do,” Bonds said. “I love the city of San Francisco and to me that’s my Hall of Fame. I don’t worry about it because I don’t want to be negative about the way other people think it should be run. That’s their opinion, and I’m not going to be negative.
“I know I’m going to be gone one day. If you want to keep me out, that’s your business. My things are here in San Francisco. These are the people who love me. This is where I feel I belong. This is where I want to belong. If [the voters] want to put me in there, so be it, fine. If they don’t, so be it, fine.”
Bonds’ ties to a steroids scandal, including indictment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury during the BALCO investigation, included a conviction for obstruction of justice in April 2011.
Bonds told MLB.com that he wanted to play one more year — with the Giants — when his contract in San Francisco expired after the 2007 season. He was within reach of many other career milestones — he had 2,935 career hits and 1,996 career RBIs.
He spent his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates but joined the Giants in free agency in 1993 after hitting .311 with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs in 140 games with the Pirates in ’92.
— The Sports Xchange via Reuters