posted on Feb, 23 2007 @ 12:13 AM
One thing I see too much of is comparisons between Bonds on the one hand, and Big Quack and Sosa on the other. I watched Bonds at least 120 games per
year on TV, living as I do on the far North Coast of California, starting with the time he came to the Giants. He was a phenomenal player, and
there's no reason to think he was taking steroids during those years. He won 3 MVP's in 4 years, and should have won all 4, but the sportswriters
understandably hated him and loved Terry Pendleton.
I am confident that what Bonds did through 1998 or 1999, he did on his legitimate, natural merits. And I agree with what Bill James providentially
wrote after the 1999 season: that Bonds, counting his career through only his modest 1999 season, is about the 13th greatest player in MLB
history. (The 12 guys I have ahead of him are not identical to the ones James has, but we agree he's #13 as of late 1999.)
So, Bonds must be considered one of the greatest players who ever lived. He was probably the best defensive left fielder of all time, including
Rickey Henderson (whom I also saw all the time). He was perhaps the greatest combination of speed and power ever. Had he stayed clean, he would have
hit 600 HR's and stolen at least 700 bases.
He never took part in game-fixing, the one unpardonable sin, so on the basis of what he did through 1998 or 1999, it's obvious he belongs in
the Hall of Fame. No question about it, and any comparisons to the turgid, one-dimensional Mark McGwire, or the wildly erratic and undisciplined
Sammy Sosa, are off-base... except for the obvious cloud. But those guys were not real Hall of Famers until their bodies exploded--Sosa had no shot;
McGwire was a more likable version of Dave Kingman, with a huge HR/AB ratio but nothing else.
Just as I would put the phony numbers of McGwire and Sosa in the incinerator, that's exactly where I would put Bonds' numbers from 2000 on.
Nobody suddenly becomes 3x better a hitter after age 35, and it's absurd to think what he did from that point on was legit--even if you
weren't watching him every day and didn't see the "marvelous" explosion like I did (exploded stats, exploded head, exploded heart beat....).
Moreover, the guy never hit a HR over 450 feet without a lot of help from the wind until he was almost 36. Since then, he's done it about 3
dozen times, with several "marvelous" shots of far over 450 feet... many of which I watched in silent disgust.
Yeah, it was all a fraud, and 98% of the baseball fans I know agreed there was no other non-delusional interpretation of it. The remaining 2% got
But Bonds should not be lumped with McGwire and Sosa. PED's did not turn him from a fairly good player into a great one. They turned him from one
of the game's greatest players into its greatest "peak" player ever. Yes, greater than Ruth from 1920-1924, or at least that's my opinion--but
his stats could have been twice what they were and they still would be fraudulent and meaningless to me.
Should Bonds be barred from the Hall because he's a world-class jerk? Only if they're prepared to expel, among countless others, Ty Cobb (my #3
player), Tris Speaker (#6), Lefty Grove (#10), Joe DiMaggio (#12) and Ted Williams (#4).
Should he be barred because he racked up fraudulent stats? Only if they're going to bar an entire generation or two of players, and even then, Bonds
arguably should be the one cheat who gets in, because his pre-cheat numbers were far too good to keep him out. (Much like Clemens, if, Heaven forbid,
they discover the greatest pitcher of my lifetime--including Koufax--has elongated his greatness with PED's.)
Maybe people should think about that parallel. Clemens has won 2 more ERA titles (7) than every pitcher ever, except Grove (9). If it came out
Clemens' last 6 years were frauds, would you want him barred?
If not, Bonds can't be barred, either.
[edit on 23-2-2007 by BaseballHistoryNut]