Skip to content

Over the long haul, Barry Bonds’ Hall of Fame prospects aren’t that bad

Aug 10, 2012, 2:00 PM EST

Barry Bonds Convicted Of One Count Of Obstruction Of Justice Getty Images

Gregg Doyel has a column up over at CBSSports.com about why he thinks Barry Bonds is a Hall of Famer. This part, though, about his CBS colleagues, is interesting to me:

CBSSports.com has seven baseball writers—three with actual HOF votes—and five of the seven said they would vote for Bonds. That’s 71.4 percent in favor of induction, with 75 percent required for admittance.

Again, that’s a small sample size—and here comes an even smaller (but more telling) sample size:

Of our three Hall voters at CBSSports.com—longtime baseball writers Scott Miller, Danny Knobler and Jon Heyman—just one said he’d vote for Bonds. Which one? That’s for him to say, if he chooses. Point being, Bonds’ candidacy is supported primarily by the newer-media bloggers at CBSSports.com, an ominous trend given that most Hall voters are longtime writers from the Miller, Knobler and Heyman mold.

I’m not sure it’s quite so ominous. I agree that the longer-tenured, more established voters are more likely to be anti-Bonds and anti-PED guys in general, and that for that reason he faces a tough road for some time. But time marches on and that electorate is going to change quite a bit in the next 15 years.

And it will be 15 years, because even if Bonds doesn’t get in any time soon, it’s almost certain that he’ll get enough support to remain on the ballot.  Mark McGwire does, after all — he has ranged from 19% to 23% in the voting since he’s been on the ballot — and there’s no rational reason anyone who votes for McGwire wouldn’t vote for Bonds.

Add more to Bonds, in fact, because some people who don’t vote for McGwire don’t withhold votes simply because he did PEDs, but rather, because they are the “discounters,” as it were, and simply think that McGwire wouldn’t be in the conversation without PEDs (i.e they discount some credit for is career totals due to PED use). Such voters likely will feel differently about Bonds given what he did before it’s generally accepted that he did PEDs, figuring that even with the discount he’d be a Hall of Famer.

So, that gives you a baseline of, at the very least, 25% or so for Bonds. And I’d bet that he gets something closer to 50% of the vote.  Then you add in the demographic shift.

It takes ten years as a BBWAA member to become a Hall of Fame voter. So even if one is just admitted to the BBWAA this year — as we here at NBC are going to attempt to do — Barry Bonds will still be on the Hall of Fame ballot for five years after one is allowed to vote.

Not that it’s just starting now, of course.  Younger voters who are more inclined to be open to Bonds’ candidacy — I’d say anyone who began regularly covering baseball in the nineties or later — began being admitted to the BBWAA several years ago and are being given Hall of Fame ballots in greater numbers. Many — especially the web-based members like Keith Law, Rob Neyer, Will Carroll, the Baseball Prospectus guys and the FanGraphs guys — are still several years away.  The upshot: between now and the end of Bonds’ theoretically continuing unsuccessful candidacy, there should be a pretty significant shift in the aggregate attitude of the Hall of Fame electorate.

So, yes, Bonds’ odds of being elected are pretty long in the short term.  But it would surprise me greatly if Bonds spent 15 years on the Hall of Fame ballot without being voted in.

In fact, I’d even offer to eat my hat if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing they will have cured baldness by 2027, so I will no longer have a need for hats.

Latest Posts
  1. Giants, Red Sox still in the picture for James Shields

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:50 PM EST

    james shields getty Getty Images

    The field for James Shields has been winnowed down to a few, namely the Giants and Red Sox.

  2. Justin Upton open to signing a contract extension with the Padres before spring training

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:35 PM EST

    Justin Upton Justin Upton

    If the Padres want to keep Justin Upton around beyond 2015, they’ll have to hammer out a contract extension before spring training begins.

  3. Scott Boras: Matt Wieters will be ready for Opening Day

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:27 PM EST

    Matt Wieters AP

    Scott Boras says the Orioles should expect to have Matt Wieters behind the plate when the 2015 regular season opens on April 6.

  4. Padres GM A.J. Preller discusses the offseason

    Dec 21, 2014, 10:55 AM EST

    preller ap AP

    A.J. Preller, the second-youngest general manager in Major League Baseball, joined MLB Network this weekend to discuss the Padres’ incredibly active offseason …

  5. Video: Matt Kemp and San Diego’s “rockstar GM”

    Dec 21, 2014, 9:11 AM EST

    matt kemp dodgers getty Getty Images

    Matt Kemp was introduced to the San Diego media on Saturday at Petco Park …

  6. Rangers showing interest in Brandon Beachy

    Dec 20, 2014, 10:45 PM EST

    Brandon Beachy Brandon Beachy

    Bounce-back candidate Brandon Beachy has drawn interest from the Rangers lately.

  7. Josh Lindblom signs with the Lotte Giants in Korea

    Dec 20, 2014, 9:40 PM EST

    Josh Lindblom Josh Lindblom

    Josh Lindblom is taking his talents to the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization.

  8. Angels sign Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin

    Dec 20, 2014, 7:35 PM EST

    angels logo

    The deal between Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin and the Angels became official on Saturday after the 20-year-old passed his physical.

  9. Brian Sabean doesn’t plan to talk to Max Scherzer

    Dec 20, 2014, 7:10 PM EST

    Max Scherzer Getty Getty Images

    The Giants reportedly have no plans to attempt to initiate contract talk with free agent Max Scherzer.

  10. Nick Hundley reportedly has a two-year offer

    Dec 20, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    Nick Hundley Nick Hundley

    An unnamed team has reportedly offered a two-year deal to Nick Hundley. It’s not the Orioles.

  11. Rangers lose a player to release waivers due to quirk in MLB rule

    Dec 20, 2014, 5:26 PM EST

    Ben Rowen Getty Getty Images

    MLB’s waiver rules are complicated enough for fans and those who cover baseball on a regular basis, but apparently they can even confuse teams sometimes.

  12. Report: The Phillies could be a suitor for Asdrubal Cabrera

    Dec 20, 2014, 4:06 PM EST

    Asdrubal Cabrera Getty Images

    The Phillies could eye Asdrubal Cabrera as a replacement for Jimmy Rollins.

  13. Indians sign Scott Downs

    Dec 20, 2014, 2:45 PM EST

    Scott Downs Getty Getty Images

    Downs had a 4.97 ERA over 55 appearances this past season between the White Sox and Royals.

  14. Phillies GM told Ryan Howard they’d be better off “not with him but without him”

    Dec 20, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    Ryan Howard Getty Getty Images

    With the Phillies in the middle of a rebuilding effort, they are facing some tough (and long overdue) truths with their veteran players.

  15. Troy Tulowitzki trade between the Rockies and Mets is “not happening”

    Dec 20, 2014, 12:16 PM EST

    San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

    Tulowitzki would immediately take the Mets from a “maybe” contender to a “legitimate” contender, but don’t get your hopes up.

  16. Jimmy Rollins writes goodbye message to Philadelphia after trade to Dodgers

    Dec 20, 2014, 11:01 AM EST

    Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    Rollins was officially traded from the Phillies to the Dodgers yesterday in exchange for right-hander Zach Eflin and left-hander Tom Windle.

  17. Trea Turner’s agent is unhappy his client is in limbo after trade to Nationals

    Dec 20, 2014, 9:59 AM EST

    Nationals cap logo

    As part of this week’s three-team Wil Myers trade, the Nationals acquired right-hander Joe Ross and a player to be named later. However, the player to be named later isn’t a mystery. It’s shortstop prospect Trea Turner, who is now in limbo after the trade.

  18. Chase Utley wants to go down with Phillies’ sinking ship

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

    Chase Utley AP AP

    Chase Utley plans to wear Phillies red until his contract runs out.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. W. Myers (5015)
  2. M. Kemp (3523)
  3. J. Kang (2743)
  4. J. Upton (2742)
  5. W. Middlebrooks (2660)
  1. C. McGehee (2656)
  2. M. Morse (2400)
  3. A. Rios (2357)
  4. C. Headley (2202)
  5. J. Peavy (1930)