Barry Bonds clarifies ‘death sentence’ comment, says it was not aimed at MLB


A compelling profile of retired MLB great Barry Bonds and his shunning by Hall of Fame voters was published by The Athletic this week. Bonds on the statistical merits is one of the greatest players in baseball history, but largely because his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs during his playing career he’s yet to come close to being named on the necessary 75 percent of BBWAA ballots necessary for induction into Cooperstown. That’s after eight years on the ballot with just two to go. 

In Andrew Baggarly’s piece, he quoted Bonds as saying he felt like he received a “death sentence” from the league. On Tuesday, though, Bonds pushed back against that characterization by saying he was referring to Hall of Fame voters with his “death sentence” remark and not the league itself. Bonds posted the following statement to Instagram: 

“CLARIFICATION: I spent some time with writer Andrew Baggarly while I was at Spring Training last weekend. At the end of our discussion about hitting, he asked me about the Hall of Fame. I opened up to him, sharing some of my thoughts and feelings of where I stand on the subject. Unfortunately, I was misquoted. I did not say Major League Baseball has given me a death sentence. I did not reference the league in any way nor did I infer that MLB was keeping me out of the Hall. In our conversation, I made the analogy that I had two years left in a ‘life sentence’ meaning I had two years left on the ballot. If I didn’t make it in the Hall during that time, then I would be given the ‘death penalty’ by being omitted by the writers.

Baggarly has since posted a retraction and editorial note, which I very much appreciate; however, neither have been given any attention. Our conversation was a long one and this was only a small piece of it.”

For his part, Baggarly also noted the subsequent follow-up with Bonds: 

Bonds, who owns the all-time home run record, has been in Giants camp as a guest instructor. He spent 15 of his 22 seasons in a Giants uniform. In his eighth year on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, he was named on just more than 60 percent of ballots. As noted, Bonds has two more chances to reach the necessary 75 percent for election.





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