Barry Bonds to be enshrined in Hall of Fame — no, not that one

It's not Cooperstown.

But Barry Bonds is a newly elected Hall of Famer.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Tuesday that they're inducting Bonds into the team's Hall of Fame. He'll join a class that includes his former manager Jim Leyland and 1970s All-Star catcher Manny Sanguillén in a ceremony at PNC Park on August 24.

"What can you say?" Bonds said, per the Pirates announcement. "I'm kind of at a loss for words. Being able to tell my kids, 'Your dad has gotten into the Pirates Hall of Fame,' that was really nice. It's going to be awesome going back to where it all started."

Bonds, of course, can't tell his kids that he's a National Baseball Hall of Famer. Despite his status as the most feared slugger of his generation and arguably all-time, Bonds is not welcome in Cooperstown. His prominent association with baseball's steroids era of the 1990s and early 2000s has locked him out.

Should Bonds be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Bonds' credentials are unassailable. He's a seven-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glover and two-time batting champ. He's also baseball's single-season (73) and career (762) home run king. That is, if you're willing to acknowledge the home runs he hit during said steroids era.

Many of baseball's Hall of Fame voters are not. Bonds fell short for a 10th time in his 10th and final season of eligibility via the 2022 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot. His 66% vote tally that year fell well short of the 75% threshold for enshrinement. He's still eligible via committee votes, but nothing suggests that baseball's gatekeepers are ready to welcome Bonds and others faces of the steroids era in to the Hall of Fame fold.

Bonds was great before San Francisco

The Pirates, however, are eager to acknowledge his accomplishments with the franchise. Bonds joined the Pirates as a rookie in 1986 and spent his first seven MLB seasons with the franchise. He made two All-Star teams and won his first two MVPs in Pittsburgh before joining the San Francisco Giants in 1993. There, he finished his career as a perennial MVP contender and five-time winner over the course of 15 seasons.

Bonds' seasons in Pittsburgh aren't associated with the steroids era. Playing with a noticeably smaller frame than in San Francisco, Bonds slugged .275/.380/.503 while averaging 25 home runs, 79 RBI and 36 stolen bases per season. He finished his career in Pittsburgh with 33, 25 and 34 home runs respectively in his last three seasons — lofty totals, but nothing like what was to come in San Francisco.

In 15 seasons with the Giants, Bonds matched or exceeded his career-high home run total in Pittsburgh (34) 11 times (46, 37, 42, 40, 37, 34, 49, 73, 46, 45, 45). He slugged .312/.477/.666 while averaging 39 home runs and 96 RBI per season. Despite repeatedly leading the league in walks (11 times) and on-base percentage (eight times) in San Francisco, he experienced a precipitous decline in stolen bases (17.5 per season).

Whether or not he's in the Baseball Hall of Fame apparently won't matter much to Bonds on Aug. 24. He sounds genuinely moved to be a part of Pittsburgh's class.

“Leyland and I are going to have to try and control our emotions, because I think we may do more crying that day than actually speaking," Bonds said." But it’s still going to be great."

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