On December 4th, MLB’s Contemporary Era Committee will come together during the Winter Meetings to vote on which players will make it into Cooperstown. This group is comprised of some MLBbro legends who probably should have been inducted a long time ago. Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Fred McGriff aka “The Crime Dog.” The voting is for players who didn’t make it in during their ten-year run on the ballot and those who started their careers after 1980.
The biggest name on this ballot is MLB’s Home Run King, who failed to make it in. In January, the single-season record-holder for homers (73) only got 66 percent of the required 75 percent vote needed to make it to Cooperstown, affectionately ending his run on the ballot. But with Monday’s news, Bonds, Belle and McGriff have new life. Although the prognostications are still pretty bleak, there is a chance that Bonds gets his just due.
Barry Bonds is one of two players in MLB history to hit 300+ career homers and steal 400+ bases.
Can you name the other? pic.twitter.com/eo38uxRwXu
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 28, 2021
Ortiz Getting In And Not Bonds Caused A Stir
When former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz got his call to the Hall in his first year of eligibility, it caused Bonds’ former manager and 2022 World Series champion Dusty Baker to speak out about it.
“Same way Jeff Kent didn’t get in. Same way Pete Rose didn’t get in. Same way Roger Clemens didn’t get in.
“The voters supposedly like guys of high character, guys with no marks or suspicions about their reputation — or maybe it’s how you treated the media.”
“MLB is more partial to Boston and New York and the East Coast teams; we always have to see what New York or Boston is going to do before we can determine what time we’re going to be on TV.”
Baker is saying East Coast bias played a role in Bonds failing to get the necessary Hall of Fame votes over the past decade. Some believe that Bonds will never have his name called because of the controversy surrounding his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. That’s been the sticking point with Bonds not getting in from 2013-2022.
ESPN MLB analyst Jeff Passan called it a failure that Bonds didn’t get in. Passan was also quick to set the record straight when Yankees slugger Aaron Judge broke the AL home run record this past season. He proclaimed that Bonds’ single-season record is valid and still the official mark.
Another year has passed with Barry Bonds not being elected to the Hall of Fame.
Would YOU vote for him? pic.twitter.com/vdo7vXGHaB
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) January 18, 2017
Belle And McGriff Are Also Hoping For That Call
Standing at the plate, gripping his bat tightly and staring with incredible intensity…menacing even, Albert Belle was possibly the most fearsome hitter in the American League for a decade.
The numbers don’t lie. The five-time Silver Slugger award winner finished in the top five of the AL most valuable player voting in five out of six seasons from 1992 to 1998.
As a full-time left fielder and designated hitter for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles, Belle averaged 37 home runs and 120 RBIs per season with 95 runs scored. His .295 career batting average, 381 home runs, and 1239 RBIs should be enough to put him among the all-time greats, but voters have never given Belle strong consideration.
His strained relationship with the media, the Indians, off-field troubles, and his essential disappearance from the game after the 1993 season have overshadowed the excellence of the only player to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season.
As MLB evolves and metrics change the way the game is packaged, the Black baseball player continues to fight its way back into baseball’s bloodstream. In reflection, we can fully appreciate just how great some of these overlooked Black and Brown Hall of Famers were.
Crime Dog Fred McGriff, he was a true professional his entire career, but he never received more than 40 percent in any of his ten years on the ballot.
McGriff hit 493 homers in his MLB career. Clean homers. But baseball’s HOF voting committee doesn’t deem the vaunted slugger worthy of HOF induction. His career has been described as “subtle” and “very good” but not “elite”. He might end up with more homers than any PED-free player to never make Cooperstown.
McGriff was just never a transcending personality. He was tall and his bat was thundering, but few folks put the words “great” and “Fred McGriff” in the same sentence. Some say McGriff was overshadowed by the prolific stars of his era. Others hoping to get the call via this route include Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling.
— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) November 7, 2022
Of the eight nominees no one is more deserving than Bonds who in his career was a 14-time All-Star and won seven MVPs. Add-in 762 home runs, 2,558 career based on balls and other numerous accolades.