Former San Francisco Giants outfielder and all-time home run champion Barry Bonds was denied entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by baseball writers today.
The hall, based in Cooperstown, N.Y., announced that Bonds received 206, or 36.2 percent, of 569 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
A vote of 75 percent is needed for induction into the hall.
Bonds, 48, played with the Giants from 1993 to 2007. While on the team, he set the Major League Baseball career home run record of 762, as well as the single-season record of 73, which he batted in 2001.
The former outfielder received seven Most Valuable Player awards.
Bonds was one of 37 players considered by the writers this year.
For the first time since 1996, and for the eighth time ever, no candidate achieved the required 75 percent vote for induction.
Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said in a statement, “We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era.
“The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America,” Idelson said.
“We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide,” he said.
Because he received a vote of more than 5 percent, Bonds will remain eligible for consideration up to 14 more years. This year was his first on the ballot.
Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said, “We respect the process, and ultimately the decision is up to the baseball writers.
“We hope that at some point, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Slaughter said.
Bonds’ legacy has been clouded by allegations of the use of performance-enhancing drugs distributed by the Burlingame-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO.
He was indicted in federal court in San Francisco in 2007 on charges of lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied ever knowingly having taken steroids or human growth hormone from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
The panel was investigating alleged distribution of the drugs by BALCO.
In a trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco in 2011, a jury convicted him of obstructing justice by giving the grand jury evasive testimony, but deadlocked on three perjury counts. The perjury charges were later dropped by prosecutors.
Illston sentenced Bonds on the obstruction conviction on Dec. 16, 2011, to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service and payment of a $4,000 fine.
But she delayed Bonds’ service of his sentence until he completes an appeal of his one-count conviction.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments on the appeal in San Francisco on Feb. 13.
In his 2003 testimony, Bonds told the grand jury that he had taken substances known as “the clear” and “the cream” from Anderson, but said he thought they were flaxseed oil and arthritis ointment. The substances were later identified as so-called designer steroids that had been engineered to be undetectable.
Bonds is one of 11 people, including BALCO officials, athletes and trainers, who were indicted by federal grand juries in San Francisco on charges of either illegally distributing drugs or lying in connection with the BALCO probe.
The others all pleaded guilty or were convicted of various charges.
Baseball Writers’ Association Secretary/Treasurer Jack O’Connell was asked during a telephone news conference today if he was concerned about whether writers might be voting on the basis of doubts and suspicions rather than facts that might or might not be in evidence.
O’Connell answered, “I don’t know that people are doing that. There’s no way for me to know that. I assume that people are using the information that they have and assessing the value of each player the way they do any other year.
“I can’t get into the heads of 569 voters. I didn’t think there was any pattern in this voting that was much different from what we’ve had in the last few years,” O’Connell said.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News