Numbers game

Home run king Barry Bonds returns to Hall of Fame ballot

December 03, 2013
2014 Hall of Fame candidate Barry Bonds. (Brad Mangin/NBHOF Library)

On the baseball diamond, there was nothing Barry Bonds could not do.

The totals: 2,935 hits, a record 2,558 walks and a .444 on-base percentage. Five-hundred fourteen stolen bases, and the lone member of the 500 steal/500 home run club. Eight Gold Glove Awards in left field. 

He recorded seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards – including four straight from 2001-04 – and 14 All-Star Game selections. 

And a record 762 home runs. 

Now, Bonds is returning to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot. 

Bonds is one of 36 players on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the Class of 2014 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In his debut on the BBWAA ballot in 2013, Bonds received 36.2 percent of the vote. 

[Scouting reports on Barry Bonds]

BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 8. Any candidate who receives votes on at least 75 percent of all BBWAA ballots cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 27 in Cooperstown. 

Born July 24, 1964 in Riverside, Calif., Bonds grew up in major league clubhouses around his father, All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonds. By 1982, Barry was one of the top high school players in the country, and was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the MLB Draft. But Bonds and the Giants could not come to an agreement, and Bonds decided to play college baseball at Arizona State. After three brilliant seasons with the Sun Devils, Bonds was taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the sixth overall pick in the 1985 MLB Draft. 

In less than a year, Bonds would debut as the Pirates’ center fielder. 

After three-and-a-half years of moderate success as the Pirates leadoff hitter, Pittsburgh manager Jim Leyland dropped Bonds to the No. 5 spot in a lineup featuring Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla. That year – 1990 – saw Bonds display his all-around ability for the first time as he hit .301 with 33 home runs, 114 RBI and 52 stolen bases en route to the National League MVP Award. 

The Pirates lost to the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS – with Bonds hitting .167 with one RBI – but the best was yet to come. 

Bonds finished second in the MVP vote in 1991 following a slow start, but still hit 25 home runs and notched 116 RBI while leading the Pirates to another NL East title – and another subsequent loss to in the NLCS, this time to the Braves. In 1992, Bonds was again named the NL MVP after hitting 34 home runs and scoring a league-best 109 runs. But once again, the Pirates lost to the Braves in seven games in the NLCS – this time falling in the bottom of the ninth of the final game when Sid Bream barely beat Bonds’ throw to home plate to score the game-winning run. 

Bonds hit the free agent market following the 1992 season and quickly signed a six-year, $43.75 million contract with his hometown Giants. 

“I did a lot of soul searching about where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be around,” Bonds told USA Today in 1993. “San Francisco was one of the teams I felt fit my style.” 

Bonds fit right in on San Francisco Bay, leading the NL with 46 homers and 123 RBI while winning his third MVP in four years and his fourth Gold Glove Award. He continued his All-Star level play through the 1998 season – becoming the second player to achieve a 40 home run/40 steal season in 1996 – then missed almost half of the 1999 season with injuries. 

But in 2000, Bonds rebounded with 49 homers and 106 RBI, setting the stage for a four-year run almost unmatched in history. Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s three-year old single-season home run record in 2001 with 73 homers, winning the first of four straight MVP awards. 

“Since 1990, he’s been the best player in the league, I’d have to say,” Leyland said in 1998. “Maybe not every year, but over that period.” 

In 2002, he hit 46 homers, drove in 110 runs and drew a record 198 walks while hitting a league-best .370, leading the Giants to the World Series. After struggling in his first five postseason series, Bonds was unstoppable in 2002 – hitting eight home runs and driving in 16 runs in 17 postseason games. In the World Series alone, Bonds hit four home runs, scored eight runs, totaled six RBI and walked an astounding 13 times – seven of which game intentionally. The Giants, however, lost to the Angels in seven games. 

Following two more MVP seasons in 2003 and 2004, Bonds missed much of the 2005 season with knee injuries. But he returned in 2006 and 2007, mounting a challenge to Henry Aaron’s all-time home run mark. On Aug. 7, 2007, Bonds hit career home run No. 756 off Washington’s Mike Bacsik, etching his name into history. The ball Bonds hit for his record-breaking home run was eventually donated to the Hall of Fame. 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1986 21 PIT 113 484 413 72 92 26 3 16 48 36 7 65 102 .223 .330 .416
1987 22 PIT 150 611 551 99 144 34 9 25 59 32 10 54 88 .261 .329 .492
1988 23 PIT 144 614 538 97 152 30 5 24 58 17 11 72 82 .283 .368 .491
1989 24 PIT 159 679 580 96 144 34 6 19 58 32 10 93 93 .248 .351 .426
1990 25 PIT 151 621 519 104 156 32 3 33 114 52 13 93 83 .301 .406 .565
1991 26 PIT 153 634 510 95 149 28 5 25 116 43 13 107 73 .292 .410 .514
1992 27 PIT 140 612 473 109 147 36 5 34 103 39 8 127 69 .311 .456 .624
1993 28 SFG 159 674 539 129 181 38 4 46 123 29 12 126 79 .336 .458 .677
1994 29 SFG 112 474 391 89 122 18 1 37 81 29 9 74 43 .312 .426 .647
1995 30 SFG 144 635 506 109 149 30 7 33 104 31 10 120 83 .294 .431 .577
1996 31 SFG 158 675 517 122 159 27 3 42 129 40 7 151 76 .308 .461 .615
1997 32 SFG 159 690 532 123 155 26 5 40 101 37 8 145 87 .291 .446 .585
1998 33 SFG 156 697 552 120 167 44 7 37 122 28 12 130 92 .303 .438 .609
1999 34 SFG 102 434 355 91 93 20 2 34 83 15 2 73 62 .262 .389 .617
2000 35 SFG 143 607 480 129 147 28 4 49 106 11 3 117 77 .306 .440 .688
2001 36 SFG 153 664 476 129 156 32 2 73 137 13 3 177 93 .328 .515 .863
2002 37 SFG 143 612 403 117 149 31 2 46 110 9 2 198 47 .370 .582 .799
2003 38 SFG 130 550 390 111 133 22 1 45 90 7 0 148 58 .341 .529 .749
2004 39 SFG 147 617 373 129 135 27 3 45 101 6 1 232 41 .362 .609 .812
2005 40 SFG 14 52 42 8 12 1 0 5 10 0 0 9 6 .286 .404 .667
2006 41 SFG 130 493 367 74 99 23 0 26 77 3 0 115 51 .270 .454 .545
2007 42 SFG 126 477 340 75 94 14 0 28 66 5 0 132 54 .276 .480 .565
22 Yrs 2986 12606 9847 2227 2935 601 77 762 1996 514 141 2558 1539 .298 .444 .607

 

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum