Barry Bonds gets Hall of Fame endorsement from notable ex-manager
Barry Bonds missed out on the Baseball Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility, and one of his most notable former managers thinks the voters got it wrong.
Jim Leyland, who managed Bonds in Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1992, was critical of voters for excluding Bonds, arguing that the outfielder was a Hall of Famer before any speculation about performance-enhancing drug use began.
“I thought possibly being the last go-round on the writers’ ballot that he would get in, and disappointed that he didn’t get in. Disappointed that [Roger] Clemens didn’t get in,” Leyland told “The Stoney & Jansen Show” on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit. “But when people are awarded that privilege of voting for the Hall of Fame, they also are awarded the privilege of making their decision. Whether you agree with it or disagree, that’s the way it is.”
Leyland questioned whether the Hall of Fame should be treated like “the Holy Land or the Promised Land,” and also blamed Bonds’ poor relationship with the media for Bonds’ exclusion.
“He’s arguably the greatest player to ever play, if you look at all the statistics. Not only one of the greatest, he could be the greatest,” Leyland said. “He was one of those guys who his attitude pretty much throughout his career — and this is why the media relationship was not very good — he just had to play with a chip on his shoulder. It was kind of ‘me against the world.’ That’s the way Barry was and consequently, that hurt him some with the media.”
Bonds came quite close to election in his final year on the ballot, but did not quite get enough support. There is probably a degree of truth to the fact that Bonds’ difficult relationship with the media hurt him, though the outfielder’s links to PED use are certainly the biggest factor.
Leyland famously cursed out Bonds in a 1991 spring training video, but the two are close and Leyland even attended Bonds’ jersey retirement ceremony in San Francisco. Perhaps Leyland’s endorsement will help Bonds when the Today’s Game Committee considers his case in December.