Willie Mays is one of the greatest to ever play the game of baseball. Because of that, he’s in the Hall of Fame. Now he wants one of the other all-time greats, Barry Bonds, in the Hall as well. Makes sense, right?
This isn’t going to be about Bonds and his accomplishments. We already know how good he was during his playing days. But this is going to be about Mays stating the obvious: put Bonds in the Hall. Seriously you dummies, do this. What are you waiting for?
Now Saturday night, the slugger was on hand to have his number retired by the San Francisco Giants. Mays then took the mic, and sent a clear message — via ESPN.
“When people talk about, ‘Oh, who’s the best ballplayer in the world?’ I don’t care,” he said. “I played my 20 years, 22 years, whatever it might be. Give somebody honor, that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a type of fraternity that, when you get there, you’ll say, ‘Man, how did I get here?’ And I want him to have that honor be something that happens to him. … Vote this guy in!”
But Bonds wasn’t there to focus on all that. He was simply enjoying the moment, a moment he had earned after 22 magnificent seasons — 15 of which were with the Giants.
“I am overwhelmed with emotions as the reality of this day sets in. This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but as a child I didn’t even want to play baseball. I wanted to play all sports — basketball, football, ride my bike, all the things that kids do. But once my mom signed me up … I got my first taste of what would be my lifelong passion.”
Bonds is currently MLB’s home run (762) and walk (2,558) king. He holds a career .298/.444/.607 slash line. He led the league in on-base percentage 10 times, including in his last two seasons — when he was 41 and 42 years old, respectively. Bonds also led the league in walks 12 times and intentional walks 12 times. Again, he did this in his final two seasons as well.
We could talk about these numbers forever, but it doesn’t matter. Those who will vote for him, will. Those who won’t because they are wrong, will not. And life will go on.
But Willie Mays has the right idea.