Nobody in the history of the game controlled an at-bat like Barry Bonds, but he was at the mercy of strangers when it came to Baseball Hall of Fame voting.
On Tuesday, he ran out of time.
Bonds fell short of the 75 percent needed for enshrinement when results were announced Tuesday afternoon. He was listed on 66 percent of the ballots in his 10th and final year of eligibility. Former Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was the only player selected by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, getting 77.9 percent of the vote.
On numbers alone, Bonds had as strong a Hall of Fame case as any player in MLB history. He's the all-time leader in home runs and walks and posted a 1.051 OPS in 22 seasons. Bonds owns the single-season home run record and averaged 41 homers and a .444 OPB during his career; by comparison, 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper hit 35 homers and had a .429 OBP.
Bonds was a 14-time All-Star and won seven NL MVP awards, the most in MLB history. He won 12 Silver Slugger Awards and was also an elite defender early in his career, accruing eight Gold Gloves. Bonds was also one of the game's greatest baserunners and finished with 514 steals.
In the eyes of many voters, all of that was wiped away by Bonds' use of performance-enhancing drugs. Like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, Bonds will be kept out of the Hall of Fame because of the PED connections. Sosa and Clemens also fell short Tuesday in their 10th attempt.
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Bonds was first on the ballot in 2013 and finished with about a third of the vote in his first three years of eligibility. He crept past 50 percent in 2017 and got to 60 percent three years later. Bonds was tracking above 75 percent until Tuesday, when full results were announced. He was listed on 78 percent of the ballots that were released by writers before the Hall of Fame's announcement, but as has always been the case, he got hit hard by writers who did not release their ballots on their own or chose to stay anonymous.
Bonds' fate is now in the hands of the Era Committee, a group of 16 Hall of Famers, MLB executives and veteran media members. Players no longer eligible to be selected by the BBWAA can be put in the Hall of Fame by the Era Committee, and Bonds should be on this December's ballot, which will include stars who played from 1988 to the present. Like with the normal vote, though, he will need to get the support of 75 percent of the voters to make it into the Hall of Fame.