Not quite 10 months ago, the National Baseball Hall of Fame released the results of the annual voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) to determine who would be enshrined into the museum in Cooperstown. For the 10th-straight year, Major League Baseball's all-time home run king, SF Giants legend Barry Bonds, was denied induction.
Thanks to the Hall of Fame imposing a limit of 10 years that a player can be considered on the writers' ballot, Bonds was eliminated from consideration through the normal channels of voting after the 2021 voting cycle announced in January 2022.
It wasn't the end of his candidacy, as the Hall also convenes different "Era Committees" to consider players, managers and others who are past their BBWAA voting prime. Those committees rotate every year, however, so it wasn't a guarantee that the left-handed slugger would get a look immediately.
Bonds back on a ballot
Monday, however, the Hall of Fame announced that eight recent players no longer eligible for BBWAA voting would be considered this December for induction next summer - and Bonds was one of them. He's joined by Albert Belle, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling.
The group will be considered by the 16-member panel of the "Comtemporary Baseball Era Players Committee, which will cast votes on December 4 at the Winter Meetings, according to the Hall. Any players receiving at least 75% of the votes (12 of the 16) will earn enshrinement. The committee will be made up of former players and managers.
Those who do not receive at least 12 votes will have to wait a few more years to see if they are on the committee ballot again; in December 2023 a committee will consider managers, executives and umpires from the recent past, and December 2024's ballot will include players and non-players "whose primary contribution to the game came prior to 1980", with the Comtemporary Era players to come up again in 2025.
Bonds spent the final 15 of his 22-year career in the Orange and Black after winning two National League Most Valuable Player awards in seven years with his original team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the Giants, Bonds won the MVP in 1993 and every year from 2001-2004. He set a Major League record with 73 home runs in 2001 and retired with a career-best 762. He is also the only member of the 500 homer - 500 stolen base club (514 career steals) and won eight gold gloves for fielding supremacy.
In BBWAA voting for the Hall of Fame, Bonds topped out at 66% in 2021 - 75% is also the cutoff to get in on the writers' ballot. His career was given an imaginary asterisk by many writers because of steroid allegations, causing them to leave him off enough ballots to miss induction even though other players linked to performance-enhancing drugs were voted in as well as former commissioner Bud Selig, who helped the game turn a blind eye to steroid use until after Bonds had finished his career.