Upward tick for Bonds, but no Hall of Fame yet

January 22nd, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- Former Giants star crept forward in his bid for the Hall of Fame, but he appears to be heading into the final two years of his eligibility on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot with little momentum propelling him toward Cooperstown.

Tuesday’s Hall of Fame balloting results revealed that Bonds was named on 60.7% of ballots in his eighth year of eligibility, well below the 75% required for induction. That’s only a slight uptick from the 59.1% he garnered in 2019.

While Bonds fell short yet again, the Hall of Fame welcomed two new members on Tuesday in Yankees great Derek Jeter and former Rockies outfielder Larry Walker. Jeter was a near-unanimous selection, appearing on 396 of 397 ballots in his first year, while Walker was named on 76.6% of ballots in his 10th and final year of eligibility.

Bonds will require a significant jump to earn election to the Hall of Fame before his eligibility expires in 2022, but his case has long been tainted by his links to performance-enhancing drug use. He was named to 36.2% of ballots in '13, his debut year, before surging to 53.8% in ‘17. Bonds’ gains have been more incremental since then, as he was named to 56.4% in ‘18 and 59.1% last year.

Bonds spent 15 of his 22 seasons in the Majors with the Giants, and he is the sport’s all-time leader in home runs (762), walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688). He slashed .312/.477/.666 over 1,976 games with the Giants, winning five of his MLB-record seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards in San Francisco. A 14-time NL All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, Bonds remains the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases.

Jeff Kent, Bonds’ former Giants teammate, drew 27.5% of the vote in his seventh year on the ballot, a 9.4% increase from last year. Kent played for the Giants for six seasons, slashing .297/.368/.535 over 900 games in San Francisco. A five-time NL All-Star, Kent won the NL MVP Award in 2000 with the Giants. He hit 351 of his 377 career home runs as a second baseman, making him the all-time leader at the position.

Former Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel is also trending in the right direction, as he appeared on 52.6% of ballots in his third year of eligibility. Vizquel, who garnered 42.8% of the vote in 2019, won the final two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards during his four-season tenure with San Francisco.