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Bonds falls short of HOF despite vote increase

Slugger has three years left on ballot; Kent, Vizquel miss out as well
January 22, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds inched forward in this year's Hall of Fame balloting announced Tuesday. But he'll need to take bigger strides in the voting to earn election before he drops off the regular ballot.Bonds received 251 votes from 425 tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds inched forward in this year's Hall of Fame balloting announced Tuesday. But he'll need to take bigger strides in the voting to earn election before he drops off the regular ballot.
Bonds received 251 votes from 425 tenured members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. That's 59.1 percent, representing a 2.7 percent increase from the 56.4 percent he drew last year. Yet he remained significantly short of the 75 percent plurality needed for induction to the game's shrine.
Complete 2019 Hall of Fame election results
The momentum propelling Bonds' candidacy clearly has faded. He surged from 36.8 percent in 2015 to 53.8 percent in 2017. But his 5.3 percent rise in the last two elections fell short of the single-year bounces he took in 2015-16 (7.5) and 2016-17 (9.5).
Since this was Bonds' seventh appearance on the ballot, he'll have three more chances to gain election to the Hall from the writers. Working in his favor is that relatively few candidates who appear virtually certain to gain election will be added to the ballot in this span. Thus, Bonds could receive more attention from voters who reached their limit of 10 candidates without selecting him on their ballots.
Former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the only "lock" among first-time candidates on the 2020 ballot. The 2021 ballot features plenty of very good players, including Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito. None could be characterized as very great. The challenge will resume for Bonds in 2022, when David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join the ballot.
If Bonds is denied election from the BBWAA electorate, he likely will receive consideration from the Today's Game Committee consisting of former players and executives, as well as writers and historians. This group elected outfielder-designated hitter Harold Baines and closer Lee Smith to the Hall last month.
Many voters maintain a dim view of Bonds due to his link to suspected performance-enhancing drug use. Otherwise, he possesses worthy credentials.
Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader with 762, flourished almost non-stop during 15 years with the Giants (1993-2007). He posted a .312/.477/.666 slash line in 1,976 games with them. The former left fielder also won five of his seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards with San Francisco. He's the only player to exceed 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases, reflecting his multidimensional skills.
Jeff Kent, one of Bonds' San Francisco teammates, also crept forward in the voting. He received 77 votes -- 18.1 percent of the electorate, a 3.6 percent gain from last year. He will remain on the ballot for four more years. Kent hit 351 of his 377 career homers as a second baseman, the highest all-time total at that position. Kent performed for six Major League teams but excelled most during his six years as a Giant (1997-2002), when he posted a slash line of .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season. A five-time All-Star, Kent captured the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 with the Giants.
Former shortstop Omar Vizquel, another Hall candidate with significant Giants ties, garnered 182 votes to rise from 37 percent to 42.8 percent in his second year on the ballot. Vizquel won the last two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards during his 2005-08 stint with the Giants.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.