Arguably the best hitter this generation has seen, with or without steroids, got great news on Tuesday.
After nearly a decade, the U.S. Department of Justice called off the attack dogs and federal prosecutors dropped their criminal case against MLB’s all-time home run king.
Basically, the government said it will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the appellate decision that overturned Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction.
Hence, Bonds can now finally go on with his life. Some hope that will include Bonds’ chance to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The two, however, aren’t really related.
His legal matters – Bonds was convicted of making false statements about receiving steroids or human growth hormones from his trainer – in the courtroom weren’t the reasons baseball writers weren’t voting for him.
It was the steroid cloud over Bonds. Period.
Whether he was in or out of court, Bonds wouldn’t have gotten the 75% needed to get induction into Cooperstown, New York.
However, Bonds’ future as a Hall of Fame could be made clearer later this year.
Mike Piazza, the former Los Angeles Dodger and New York Mets catcher, was always rumored to have been involved in steroid use. But, Piazza, like Bonds, never tested positive.
Last year, however, Piazza got just under 70%, receiving 384 of the required 412 votes.
The thing to notice is that Piazza’s vote total has steadily increased, giving fans reason to believe that maybe some the baseball writers have softened their stance against players associated with PEDs.
For sure, the most-prized possession in my life is my Baseball Hall of Fame vote.
Few have the right to vote the greatest baseball players ever into the only Hall of Fame that matters.
Think about it. There are more than 300 million people in the United States, yet less than 500 people have a vote after being issued a membership card from the Baseball Writers Association of America after 10 consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage.
Needless to say, it’s not easy to obtain.
Sadly, it seems as if my brethren have lost their way. They are so caught up on punishing this Steroid Era that they’ve blurred the lines, skewed the facts and now use that new math we never adopted 40 years ago in this country.
They are wrong, dead wrong.
They only thing worse than not putting in players that clearly belong – Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa – is putting in borderline guys simply because they are considered “clean.”
The Steroid Era can’t be ignored or treated as if it didn’t happen. It did.
Check the record book. Bonds is the all-time home run hitter with 762. He also won seven MVPs, has a career .298 batting average and knocked in 1,996 runs.
If the New York Yankees’ and Boston Red Sox’s championships and all the wins and losses count for teams with players that allegedly used PEDs during this untested drug use history in MLB than all the statistics by these players all count.
And it’s from those numbers that you are supposed to vote for the Hall of Fame.
Either nothing counts from the Steroid Era or everything counts. You can’t fudge it or pick and choose what numbers you want to say are legit.
Worse than that is the obvious eye test that writers have ignored or simply turned their heads away from.
If you can honestly look at Bonds from the early days to until the end of his career and not think he’s a Hall of Famer, you have no clue when it comes to an all-time great of the game.
Shame on baseball writers who think they are the game’s police, the men who are fixing what’s wrong.
In reality, they are doing the damage, killing a Hall of Fame that won’t mean a hill of beans without some of the greatest players who ever played in it, including Bonds.
I have voted for him from his first year of eligibility and will continue until his name is removed from the ballot.
If Piazza finally gets in come January, it will be nearly impossible to deny Bonds down the road.