SAN FRANCISCO -- Time is running out for Barry Bonds to gain the necessary momentum for induction into the Hall of Fame, but he could have an opportunity to pick up steam in a year when no first-timers are viewed as obvious candidates for Cooperstown.
Bonds is one of 25 players featured on the 2021 ballot, which was released on Monday. Eligible voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America must submit their ballots by the end of the year, with the results set to be announced on Jan. 26 on MLB Network.
Bonds, who is in his ninth year of eligibility, drew 60.7 percent of the vote last year, still well short of the 75 percent needed to enter the Hall of Fame. His eligibility is set to expire in 2022, as players can remain on the BBWAA ballot for up to 10 years.
The home run king appeared destined for Cooperstown before his ties to performance-enhancing drugs marred his legacy and his reputation among the BBWAA electorate.
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 Award winner, Bonds is the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases.
Second baseman Jeff Kent, a former teammate of Bonds’ in San Francisco, also returns for his eighth year on the ballot. He garnered 27.5 percent last year, a 9.4 percent gain from the previous cycle.
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.
Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who won the final two of his 11 Gold Glove Awards during his four-season tenure with the Giants, is back for his fourth year on the ballot after topping out at 52.6 percent last year.
A three-time All-Star and American League Cy Young Award winner in Oakland, Zito largely struggled after signing a seven-year contract with the Giants, though he redeemed himself with two brilliant October starts that helped the club clinch a championship in 2012. 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.
Hawkins, who played for 11 different clubs over his 21-year career, made 45 appearances for the Giants in 2005.
Players must receive at least 5 percent of the vote in order to stay on the ballot the following year.