3.01.2005

Bobby Bonds up for election to HOF

Bobby Bonds is up for consideration for election to the HOF, as reported on sfgiants.com. I think Bobby Bonds deserves to be in the HOF and said so in a previous article I'd written for sfdugout.com. I hope he will finally get in, though it will be posthumously. I think it stinks when someone clearly belongs in the HOF and does not get in before he dies. That's what happened to George Harrison, who had a lot of hits and great albums before he passed away, only to get elected in after he passed away. What, his records sound better after he's dead?

Here is what I wrote about Bobby's credentials for those who don't want to read the whole article:

I still don't understand why Bobby Bonds does not get more credit for what he did in his career. It is not just a biased fan's narrow-minded passion. Bobby Bonds did something that no one else ever did: he did 30-30 for five years. True, Willie Mays could have done it if he had known that it was a big deal, but even if he did it, it would still be only Willie and Bobby at that time. Pretty exclusive company, no?

And that was a child's very simple - and yet strong - interpretation of Bobby Bonds' Hall of Fame qualifications. Today, there are all sorts of important significant stats that I can easily pull up on baseball-reference.com. Despite all the strikeouts and a career batting average of .268, he still had a high career on-base percentage of .353, which means he was selective enough to draw a lot of walks. In fact, he was in the top 10 in walks 5 times. His OPS+ was still near 100 when he retired, so he was still a productive player at the end, by even today's sabermetric standards, even if he was not a regular anymore.

For his career, he was in the top 10 in runs scored 9 times, in total bases 8 times, home runs 7 times, and stolen bases 11 times in his 14 year career. In addition, his last two years were as a reserve and his first was only for half a season, so these top 10's were actually done in 11 years. That was a long sustained peak in performance.

It shows in his career statistics. He is currently 77th for his career in home runs, but he was probably closer to 50th when he retired, with the players that passed him over the years after he retired. He is still 45th in career-stolen bases and was probably around 30th when he retired. He was probably recently nudged out of the top 100 in runs scored but is not far away, just 35 runs, so he probably was around 70-80th when he retired. He is still close to the 100th player in total bases so he most probably was in the top 100 when he retired.

In addition to that, while batting leadoff for many years, he still ended up with over 1,000 RBIs. His Power/Speed number was 386.0, good for 4th all time, with only his son, Rickey Henderson, and Willie Mays ahead of him. His 162 game average, according to baseball-reference.com, was 110 runs scored with 29 home runs, 90 RBIs, and 40 stolen bases. Not a bad season, eh? He was an offensive speed machine, a precursor to Rickey Henderson's brand of offensive mayhem at the top of the order, and yet he could also drive in runs, even from the lead-off position.

And he was also good on defense. He won three gold gloves during his career. He had 126 assists - an average of about 10 each year he was a regular - and 40 double plays in his career, about 4 each year he was a regular. How many rightfielders can do both today? His range factor was 2.18 versus a league range factor of 1.97, illustrating his great speed once again.

Bobby Bonds Should Be in the Hall of Fame

All in all, Bobby Bonds was a well-rounded player who unfortunately had the stigma of having the most strikeouts in a season twice which defined many of the media's discussion of him during and after his career. There was also his personal problems that some felt the need to dredge up with his passing but I also noticed that no one ever dares to mention the bad habits that Babe Ruth was known for but which was never reported because of the complicity of the journalists of his era, whenever the Babe is brought up in articles today. In any case, none of that should matter: all that should matter is what happened between the lines on the playing field.

Look at all those stats above and tell me how can he not be in the Hall of Fame. I don't know how many players exactly are currently in the Hall of Fame, but wouldn't you think that a player who ranked in the top 100 or better in home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, plus high in RBIs and one of the best EVER, in combining power and speed, should be in the Hall of Fame?

1 Comments:

Blogger Albert said...

Though I've always considered Bobby Bonds to be just a notch below HOF, I feel your pain. I'll be taking part in the same futile exercise next year when Will Clark is up.

Wed Mar 02, 08:48:00 AM PST  

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