Well Barry Bonds was convicted on one of the four counts he was charged with yesterday, finally ending this circus of a trial. The charge he was convicted of was obstruction of justice; the other three counts of perjury were dismissed due to the jury being deadlocked. I mentioned in another article that while it may seem like a waste of resources, it would set a bad precedence if we just let Bonds walk away scotch free even though he lied to a grand jury (and even if the prosecution did a terrible job proving he lied, everyone with half a brain stem knows that Bonds knew exactly what he was doing). However, after thinking it over some moar, yeah it probably was a waste of time and money; especially since the three big counts were dismissed. While obstruction of justice is still a felony, it still doesn’t feel as vindicating if Bonds had been convicted of all four counts. As Jayson Stark of ESPN.com wrote, all this trial did was reinforce what we already knew–Bonds was evasive.
For some, it was a reminder that the steroid era will never go away; it will always be a black mark. Having former players testify how easy it was to obtain steroids is truly sad. Perhaps everyone during the era was on the juice. Who knows. We can only hope that players like Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. never touched steroids (and for the record, I believe they never have). The next question now is does Barry Bonds belong in the Hall of Fame? As stated in my Manny Ramirez article, my answer would be no. I mean he admitted taking steroids; it doesn’t get moar clear than that. Bonds, Ramirez, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, and Alex Rodriguez should be left out. They were all caught red-handed. I also mentioned in the Ramirez article that you can’t just erase a whole era’s worth of baseball, so what do you do with these players? They still put up incredible numbers (with help of course). People will still remember them regardless if they’re in the Hall or not. And…wait. I just answered my own question. They will be remembered. That’s all. They don’t need to be enshrined. The Hall isn’t for saints, but it isn’t for cheaters either. They may not have broken any rules at the time, but as I’ve said countless of times, they cheated themselves and the game of baseball.
Now moving on to something less somber but still sad. Carlos Delgado announced his retirement today. Delgado ends a (in this writer’s opinion) Hall of Fame career. Delgado was one of those players who did it the right way i.e. without steroids. Even so, some of you might say his numbers aren’t Hall of Fame caliber. Let’s take a look. 473 HR’s, 1512 RBI’s, 483 doubles, 1241 runs, a .280 BA, a .383 OBP, a .546 SLG (source: baseball-reference.com). Hmmm you know who else has numbers similar (in fact lower) and just recently got elected to the Hall of Fame? Jim Rice. His stat line as follows: 382 HR’s, 1451 RBI’s, 373 doubles, 1249 runs, a .298 BA, a .352 OBP, a .502 SLG (source: baseball-reference.com). Now Rice does have moar hits than Delgado (2452 to 2083) and an MVP award (which he won in 1978). And Rice did play the outfield while Delgado played a typical “power” position in 1B. However, we are talking about their merit as hitters not hitters at a specific position. They weren’t even that different in size either (Rice: 6’2 and 200 lbs, Delgado: 6’3 and 215 lbs). Rice was elected based on the fact that he was one of the premier hitters of his time (albeit he was elected on his last ballot).
Delgado was also one of the premier hitters of his time. I believe Delgado will get in, just not on the first ballot. If Rice can get in, so can Delgado. I want to quickly point out some other “power” hitters who played in the steroid era who I believe should be elected to the Hall of Fame: Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, Frank Thomas, and Jim Thome (who is currently active and pursuing his 600th HR). I won’t go into detail about these players. Some of you might frown at the mention of Bagwell, but I believe he should get in, maybe on his last ballot like Rice. McGriff finished his career with 493 HR’s, seven off of the “benchmark” 500 (c’mon people he was just seven off!). Griffey, Thomas, and Thome are all no brainers.