Bonds climbs, still short of Hall of Fame

Former Pirates/Giants slugger named to 56.4 percent of ballots

January 25th, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Barry Bonds took another small step forward in this year's Hall of Fame voting, but he still hasn't reached Cooperstown.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was unveiled Wednesday night, and it didn't include Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader and the only former Pirate up for election. He was named on 56.4 percent of the ballots, up from 53.8 percent last year, 44.3 percent in 2016 and 36.8 percent in '15.
Four baseball legends will be enshrined during the July induction ceremony in Cooperstown: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, both first-ballot Hall of Famers, alongside Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.
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Bonds and Roger Clemens, two all-time greats whose candidacies have been shrouded by suspicion of performance-enhancing drug use, both lagged behind Edgar Martinez (70.4 percent) and Mike Mussina (63.5 percent) among the crop of players who were not elected this year.

Next year will be Bonds' seventh on the ballot. Players named on at least 5 percent of the voters' ballots remain eligible for 10 years. Voters can select up to 10 eligible candidates each year.
Bonds fared better among the voters who revealed their ballots early. According to Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame ballot tracker, Bonds was named on 160 of the first 248 public ballots, a 64.5 percent clip that outpaced his actual voting numbers. To gain election, nominees must appear on at least 75 percent of ballots submitted by Baseball Writers' Association of America voters.
Bonds debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013 and received 36.2 percent of the vote. That total dipped to 34.7 percent in '14 then climbed each of the past three years. While he is gaining momentum, the longer he remains on the ballot, the chances dwindle.

Most of Bonds' historical achievements came as a Giant, but he established himself as an elite player with the Pirates. Bonds slugged 176 of his 762 homers for Pittsburgh, stealing 251 bases and slashing .275/.380/.503 in seven seasons (1986-92) for the Pirates.
Bonds won the National League MVP Award in 1990 and '92 and finished as the runner-up in '91. He made two All-Star teams while playing for the Bucs and won three straight Gold Glove Awards and Silver Slugger Awards from '90-92. He accumulated 50.1 Wins Above Replacement -- the ninth-highest total in Pittsburgh franchise history.
After leaving the Pirates, Bonds signed with the Giants and spent 15 years in San Francisco. During his 22-year big league career, he racked up 2,935 hits, 2,558 walks, 1,996 RBIs and 514 steals to go along with his MLB-record 762 homers. The seven-time NL MVP and 14-time All-Star retired as a career .298 hitter with a .444 on-base percentage and .607 slugging clip.