The San Francisco Giants greatest player since Willie Mays is not in the Hall of Fame. Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter most baseball fans have ever seen on television or in person and he is not in the Hall of Fame. Despite all of the performance enhancing drug allegations and trials, a player who never tested positive for anything during his playing career is not in the Hall of Fame.
The Giants, however, have not retired Barry’s number either. The Giants only retire a number if the player has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Since Bonds has not yet, even his hometown San Francisco Giants have held off on celebrating the man who helped build and design AT&T Park.
There is a reason the Giants stayed in San Francisco in the first place in 1992. It was because the new ownership had a plan and their first baseball decision was signing free agent Barry Bonds. Fifteen seasons in orange and black brought a trip to the World Series, numerous sellouts in a beautiful waterfront stadium, billions in revenue and much controversy.
That controversy has led to many voters in both the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America to leave any player surrounded by PED’s off their ballots. This is why some of the best players to ever play the game remain absent from the Halls of Fame.
As a member of the IBWAA, I have been a part of their Hall of Fame vote now for two years. I submitted by ballot earlier this week and would like to share with you my reasons for voting for each player. Instead of a maximum of 10, the IBWAA allows for as many as 15 selections. This year, as well as last year, I chose to vote for the 15 players.
Much of this is because I believe that everyone is to blame for the PED controversy. Baseball knew some players were taking substances to enhance their performance and did nothing. Fans knew some players were taking substances to enhance their performances and also did nothing. And players who were clean also kept quiet.
As the sport came out of a terrible lockout that led to the cancellation of the World Series, home runs as much as any other aspect of the game, helped bring baseball back. What Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did in 1998 along with Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games streak, brought the game back and yet McGwire and Sosa will not be voted into the Hall of Fame by either the BBWAA or the IBWAA. In fact, with 15 choices on the ballot, my 16th choice was Sosa and therefore he isn’t even on my ballot. I do feel like Sosa didn’t do enough before 1998 to warrant the Hall of Fame as much as others on the ballot, but for him not to have a place in the Hall of Fame is simply because his name is linked to PED’s.
As we take a look at the 15 players I did select, it is important to know that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez have already been voted into the IBWAA Hall of Fame. Bagwell and Raines were elected in 2015 and Martinez was voted in last year.