Barry Bonds, the greatest home run hitter in baseball history, will have his name on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in November. The steroid scandal at the end of his career taints his legacy, but it should not prevent him from becoming a Hall of Famer come January, when the votes are counted.
“Oh, without a doubt. There’s not a doubt in my mind,” Bonds said to MLB.com.
It will be an interesting ballot because he will be joined on it by other superstars who have been mired in the performance enhancement drugs scandal: Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens.
Bonds hit 762 home runs and won seven MVP awards during a 22-year career that ended in 2007.
“I respect the Hall of Fame, don’t get me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think we all do,” Bonds told MLB.com. “I love the city of San Francisco and to me that’s my Hall of Fame. I don’t worry about it because I don’t want to be negative about the way other people think it should be run. That’s their opinion, and I’m not going to be negative.
“I know I’m going to be gone one day. If you want to keep me out, that’s your business. My things are here in San Francisco. These are the people who love me. This is where I feel I belong. This is where I want to belong. If [the voters] want to put me in there, so be it, fine. If they don’t, so be it, fine.”
Bonds continues to fight his April 2011 conviction of one count of obstruction of justice, in which a trial jury found he gave an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating illegal steroids distribution. The jury deadlocked on three counts of making false statements, charges that then were dropped.
He was sentenced in December to 30 days of house arrest, two years’ probation and a $4,000 fine.
After ’07, Bonds could not get a single team to offer him a contract, a fact that still haunts him. “I will never agree with that at all. But at the same token, I had a great 22 years,” the 48-year-old Bonds said. “Would I have liked things to have been different? Sure, I would have loved them to be different. On one side of it, I’m disappointed. I should have been able to play one more year. That’s all I wanted. Play the one more year in San Francisco. I knew one more year would have been it for me. That’s what I wanted to do. It didn’t work out that way.
“I have no animosity toward anyone. I’m very grateful. This is my hometown. I have family here. I don’t have fans, these people are my family and I love them to death. I played for them and performed for them. I was lucky.”