What was rare in his playing days has become consistent in his Hall of Fame candidacy. Barry Bonds whiffed.
Bonds, a superstar virtually without precedent, is now 0-for-9 in trying to crack into baseball’s Hall of Fame, whose voters rejected all candidates Tuesday, when no star received the necessary 75 percent of votes to gain entrance into Cooperstown. This is the first time since 2013 everyone was shut out.
Playoff legend and Washington insurrection-backer Curt Schilling was the closest to being enshrined at 71.1 percent, but he fell 16 votes short a year after Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller were elected.
Schilling’s candidacy is controversial in a different way than that of Bonds (61.8 percent), Roger Clemens (61.6 percent) and Sammy Sosa (17 percent). Voters — members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who have been active baseball writers for at least 10 years — have gradually shown more willingness to accept players associated with performance-enhancing drug use, but none has gotten over the top.
Bonds climbed slightly past his high last year of 60.7 percent, but the momentum has faded after he received just 36.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility. There appear to be too many voters whose minds will not change with only one year left to get in the traditional way. Next year’s ballot will include a few more steroid-stained candidates in Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, but also the beloved Tim Lincecum.
Returning for his ninth year on the ballot next year will be Jeff Kent, who went from 27.5 percent last year to 32.4 percent this year. Tim Hudson also will be on next year’s ballot, just getting past the 5 percent benchmark at 5.2 percent. Omar Vizquel dropped to 49.1 percent. Barry Zito, with one vote, falls off the ballot.
Assuming Bonds falls short again next year, he could sneak through via the Today’s Game Era Committee, which considers players who fell off ballots after their 10 years of eligibility. The committee voted in Lee Smith and Harold Baines in 2018.
Without the association with PEDs, Bonds might be the easiest selection in history. The Giants legend is the home run king (762) and a 14-time All-Star, seven-time NL MVP, 12-time Silver Slugger winner and eight-time Gold Glover.