Will the Giants retiring Bonds' number boost his Hall of Fame chances?


Will the Giants retiring Bonds' number boost his Hall of Fame chances?

It’s difficult to know if the San Francisco Giants think they should retire Barry Bonds’ number because they think he won’t be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, because they think it might minimally boost his chances, or just because they recognize the debt they owe him, but the decision to depart with tradition for his sake makes perfect historical sense.

In short, he defines a clear and distinct era in Giants history, as John McGraw did 100-plus years ago, as Mel Ott did, as Bill Terry did, as Willie Mays and Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal did, and as Buster Posey and and Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval and Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean do now.

And as there is not yet a plan in place to retrofit the left field stands to retire a replica of Bochy’s skull, that means that Bonds’ turn happens now, for whatever reason.

In doing so, the Giants break their own protocol of retiring only the numbers (or initials) of Hall of Famers. Indeed, of the 187 retired numbers in baseball, only 39 are of non-Hall denizens, or barely 20 percent.

But Bonds’ number represents, both good and ill, more than 10 percent of all Giants history, and if you believe that the idea of commemorating history means commemorating all of it, then Bonds’ jersey must be retired. Not because he was a fan favorite necessarily (you can have a dandy CalTrain fistfight over that one at your leisure), but because he was the indisputably central figure of the ‘90s and ‘Oughts, spanning both the end of Candlestick Park and Name That Telecommunications Company Stadium.

True, there are fan favorites in a lot of cities that got their jerseys retired for sentimental reasons – Minnie Minoso in Chicago, Ted Kluszewski in Cincinnati, Willie Horton in Detroit, Frank White in Kansas City, Junior Gilliam in Los Angeles, Kent Hrbek in Minnesota – as well men who died while still in service to their teams either contractually on in memory – Jim Umbricht in Houston, Dick Howser in Kansas City, Jose Fernandez in Miami, Johnny Oates in Texas.

But Bonds is in a smaller group of non-Hall of Famers, with Billy Martin and Gil Hodges and Pete Rose, whose jerseys were retired simply because the history of the team does not stand without them. And for an honorific like this, that reason is as good as any.

And maybe it helps him bridge that final one fifth of the Baseball Writers Association of America. I mean, it probably won’t sway a lot of minds – the Giants put on a full-court media press for an entire year to get Orlando Cepeda approved by the Veterans Committee when his writers eligibility ran out – but the Giants clearly made whatever peace needed to be made with the thornier sides of the Bonds ethos some time ago, and his number is the last step to take before commissioning a stadium statue of him.

And the rest of the potential motives don’t matter at that point. Because when you want to say you appreciate and are indebted to an employee, nothing short of a plaque in upstate New York says it like bronze.


Brandon Crawford starts first All-Star Game with family in the stands

Brandon Crawford starts first All-Star Game with family in the stands

Brandon Crawford notched an important first in his second-ever All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday. 

The three-time defending Gold Glove winner started in the game for the first time in his eight-year career in the majors. Crawford finished with just over 3 million votes, and the fourth-most among the NL players that fans picked to start. 

Crawford struck out in both of his plate appearances. He struck out swinging on the first, and looking on the second. Crawford's wife, Jalynne Crawford, was none too pleased with the strike zone on the evening.

The Crawfords surely had a much better time with their four children, all of whom made the trip to the nation's capital. 

Our loves ❤️Repeat of 2015 @amyc23 ❤️Our All-Stars ⭐️💫✨

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All-Star (Fam) ⭐️ #SFGiants

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Crawford's NL may have lost 8-6 in extra innings to the AL, but Crawford left D.C. with bragging rights. In a trivia contest about his sister, Amy, Crawford bested Amy's husband (and All-Star pitcher) Gerrit Cole.

MLB rumors: Dodgers appear to be leaders for Manny Machado; trade framework in place


MLB rumors: Dodgers appear to be leaders for Manny Machado; trade framework in place

The Dodgers might be on the verge of making a big splash.

Los Angeles appears to be the leader in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, according to Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports.

The Orioles have the structure of a deal in place, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

Machado, who will play in his fourth All-Star Game on Tuesday night, is hitting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI this season.

The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent won the AL Gold Glove in 2013 and 2015.

The Dodgers (53-43) lead the NL West by 0.5 games and are four ahead of the Giants (50-48).