No, Brandon, Barry Bonds does not deserve to be in the Hall

Bonds a cheater, certainly not the GOAT



Barry Bonds put up the numbers to be considered the best player in baseball history, but he ruined it all when he cheated by using steroids.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen reporter

Recently this very paper published a piece titled “Barry Bonds is the greatest player of all time; put him in the Hall of Fame.Its publication was a travesty and I am here to set the record straight with a letter.

Dear Brandon,

Respectfully, you are wrong about Barry Bonds.

Bonds’ Hall of Fame case is, as presented by you and many others, that he has unbelievable statistical achievements. He did every single thing on offense as well or better than any other player ever has, including setting the home run record that has yet to be beaten.

His longevity was insane, having some of his best seasons (and some of the best seasons ever) in his mid-to-late thirties. He had a Hall of Fame-level career before the age of 33 and would play to that level for a decade.

As impressive as the concept of having two Hall of Fame cases in one career is, Bonds will always have an asterisk next to his name.

That is because Bonds was a cheater. In your article, you presented multiple cases for him to be in the Hall. I disagree with them all.

Your first was that the Hall of Fame is meant to commemorate the best from every era and to disallow Bonds is to erase the best player from the steroids era. You say that more than half the league was likely on steroids and if any of them are allowed in the Hall then Bonds should be too.

Likewise, you say the Hall is full of awful people such as racists and criminals. It is true that there are many bad people in the Hall that are probably undeserving of the single greatest achievement in the sport. You argue that if they are in, so should be Bonds.

I agree with this logic and counter with the nuclear option. When we look back and say that Bonds not being in means that David Ortiz or even Mickey Mantle should not be in, it is often meant to mean that Bonds should be put in with those guys. 

I think the opposite. 

Along with adding people, the Hall should be able to remove cheaters, racists and any other undeserving occupants.

Is that excessive? Maybe, but it deals with the issue of moral consistency within the Hall.

I do think it is bothersome that voters before did not care about the issues that we care about now. Having people in the Hall that would not make it today is weird and as such, they should not be.

Your second argument deals with his pre-roids career. Had he retired at 33 instead of taking steroids and continuing to play, it is obvious he would deserve a spot in Cooperstown. 

That is my biggest issue with Bonds. He had it all. Already on pace for the Hall of Fame with the highest standards in sports and already on pace for GOAT contention, he decided to ruin all of that.

When someone like Bonds cheats, it makes me sad. What I see is a man who ruined what he had in search of being slightly greater. When he cheated, he took records from those who did not. We do not know who would have thrived during the steroid era if nobody was on steroids. It is very likely that Bonds and the other steroid users prevented Hall of Fame-level players that were juice-free from being publicized enough to make it.

It is because of this that I cannot justify putting him in the Hall, even if we focus primarily on his pre-roid career. Two of the official requirements of the Hall are integrity and character. While there is plenty to be said about the low integrity of others in the Hall, I think there are very few acts you can do within sports that have a lower level of integrity than steroids.

These same standards apply to the title of GOAT in my eyes. “Greatest” is about more than just how well you hit a baseball or stole bases. It is about setting a good example, following the rules and playing fair. 

If cheating can make you the GOAT there is no reason for anyone not to cheat. There is no general consensus on who the GOAT is and I have no good personal answer. I do know one thing though.

What Bonds did was unsportsmanlike and unfair. You cannot pick and choose what parts of his career count when talking about moral issues like integrity. Bonds is simply incompatible with the standards of the Hall of Fame and he is incompatible with being the greatest ever.

The one fundamental truth of sports is that cheating is wrong and it would reflect poorly on the sport if the voters ignored his cheating to let him in. I rest my case.

Sincerely yours,

Hayden Stinchfield