Bonds, Kent make small gains on HOF ballot

January 27th, 2021

For the ninth consecutive year, former Giants slugger fell short in his bid for Cooperstown, as the home run king drew 61.8 percent of the vote in the 2021 Hall of Fame balloting, still well below the 75-percent threshold required for induction.

Bonds has only one year remaining on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot, where players’ eligibility expires after 10 years.

None of the 25 candidates featured on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot cleared the bar for induction on Tuesday night, marking the first shutout since 1960. The ’20 Hall of Fame class, which consists of Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller, is expected to be inducted on July 25 following a one-year delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bonds, who received only a marginal boost from the 60.7 percent he drew last year, possesses the credentials to warrant entry into the Hall of Fame, but he remains a polarizing figure for voters due to his ties to performance-enhancing drugs. He surged from 36.8 percent in 2015 to 53.8 percent in ’17, but his momentum has slowed significantly since then, with most voters appearing to have made up their minds on his candidacy.

If Bonds is denied entry again in 2022, his Hall of Fame case will be left in the hands of the Today’s Game Committee, which considers retired players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA, along with managers, umpires and executives “whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from the 1988-2016 era.”

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

Second baseman , Bonds’ former Giants teammate, garnered 32.4 percent in his eighth year on the ballot, up from 27.5 percent in 2020. Acquired from the Indians as part of the Matt Williams trade in 1996, Kent hit .297/.368/.535 over his six seasons with the Giants and won the NL MVP Award in 2000. A five-time All-Star, Kent finished his career with 377 home runs, including a record 351 as a second baseman.

Support for Omar Vizquel, who won the final two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards during his four-season tenure with the Giants, dipped from 52.6 percent in 2020 to 49.1 percent this year. His ex-wife, Blanca, accused him of domestic violence in a report published by The Athletic in December.

Two other former Giants -- left-hander Barry Zito and right-hander Tim Hudson -- were among the 11 newcomers on the 2021 ballot, though only Hudson drew enough votes to remain eligible for next year’s cycle. Hudson earned 5.2 percent, narrowly clearing the 5-percent benchmark required to stay on the ballot the following year. Zito will drop off the ballot after receiving only one vote (0.2 percent).

Zito and Hudson began their careers as members of the A’s Big Three before moving across the Bay and winning World Series rings with the Giants.

A three-time All-Star and American League Cy Young Award winner in Oakland, Zito largely underwhelmed after signing a seven-year contract with the Giants, though he redeemed himself with two brilliant October starts that helped the club clinch the 2012 World Series. Hudson spent the final two seasons of his 17-year career with the Giants, earning his fourth All-Star nod and his lone championship title in 2014.