For years the debate has been if Pete Rose deserves to be in the MLB Hall of Fame. The question has been answered by many opinionated people and debated until it consistently fades away. As players of the ‘steroids era’ become eligible, the question needs to be asked if Barry Bonds will reach the Hall of Fame before Pete Rose?
Barry Bonds played from 1986 to 2007 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. The son of major league player Bobby Bonds started his career as a lead-off-hitter with the Pirates in 1986. He led all National League rookies with 16 home runs, 48 RBI’s and 36 stolen bases.
Between Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla the Pirates faithful rallied around the team as they would reach the playoffs.
Bonds won his first MVP award in 1990 by hitting .301 with 33 home runs and 114 RBI’s. His 52 stolen bases were good enough for third in the league and he was also honored with his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.
In 1993, Barry would sign a lucrative free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants, which at that time, was the largest in baseball history. He responded by hitting .336, led the league with 46 home runs and 123 RBI’s which would earn him his second consecutive MVP award, and third overall.
He would continue his record pace and in 1998 was the first player ever to enter the 400-400 club as he accumulated 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases.
Bonds’ was touted one of the best players in the 90′s and was ranked as The Sporting News 6th Greatest Baseball Players of all-time.
Not many believed that Bonds would continue his pace and actually improve on it, but in his mid 30′s his numbers exploded and so did the records.
Not only were his cap size and shoe size doubled so were his home run numbers.
In 2001 Bonds would hit 73 home runs and set a new major league record for home runs in a single season previously set by Mark McGwire (70).
Bonds stats speak for themselves as there is no doubting the numbers, but it is also well-known that Bonds had a legendary ego and was disliked by the media. He was accused of using steroids to achieve the numbers and records that he set.
The debate will now go on for years if players of the “steroids era” deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Players like Mark McGuire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will be discussed the same way Pete Rose was and still is.
Pete Rose has his similarities to Bonds. He is the all-time leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one MVP award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year award and 17 All-Star appearances at five different positions.
In 1989 Rose was questioned regarding reports that he had bet on baseball and his own Reds team that he was managing. Rose denied the allegations but Commissioner Bart Giamatti continued the investigation. According to the report, no evidence was found that he actually bet against the Reds. After the sides went back and forth, Rose would voluntarily accept a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list. Rose accepted that there was a factual reason for the ban; in return, Major League Baseball agreed to make no formal finding with regard to the gambling allegations.
“Charlie Hustle” remains the only living member of the ineligible list of players to considered for the Hall of Fame.
The question now becomes which is worse? Assume both did what they are accused of, do either of them belong? One over the other?
It has been argued that Barry Bonds was putting up Hall of Fame numbers before he allegedly started to use steroids, but isn’t the situation the same for Rose?
By not putting in players of the steroids era is taking away from baseball and the entire decade that made baseball interesting again. Isn’t the damage done anyways?
Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and yes – Barry Bonds increased the popularity of baseball during a steady decline, but to put them in before Pete Rose is ridiculous.
The fact that Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame and not even considered is asinine and leaves me dumbfounded, but the fact that Barry Bonds could get in before him is even more of a slap in the face.