Friday, August 29, 2003


It's always sad when a parent dies. My sympathies go out to Barry Bonds and his family. Bonds the elder clearly touched many people.

One was Willie Mays. Perhaps the greatest centerfielder in baseball, the second-greatest (at least for the moment) home run hitter in history, Mays is Barry Bonds' godfather. And, in the wake of Bobby Bonds' death, Mays said that Bobby Bonds deserved to be in the Hall of Fame.


Baseball players, even the greats, apparently, just have no sense of history. I remember that Don Mattingly had no idea who Lou Gehrig was and believed Babe Ruth to be mythical, not real. Many of today's players have no idea who older players were. And finally, there are those players who confuse talent -- which every major leaguer has -- with success. Bobby Bonds was a very good player, but based on his peregrinations, it's also clear that he was not good enough for a team to hold onto him no matter what. After playing seven years with the Giants, he played seven more with seven different teams.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Bobby Bonds. But what I am complaining about is the inability to separate the truly great from the very good. When in doubt, a player should be left out.

Visit a website I like called There they use Bill James' way of calculating similar players. I looked up Bobby Bonds, and here's what gives:

Similar Batters

1. Ron Gant (907)
2. Reggie Smith (888)
3. Jack Clark (884)
4. George Foster (883)
5. Fred Lynn (875)
6. Roy Sievers (868)
7. Dick Allen (866)
8. Ellis Burks (865)
9. Bobby Murcer (864)
10. Rocky Colavito (862)

Most Similar by Age

22. Jim King (981)
23. Oddibe McDowell (973)
24. Ellis Burks (953)
25. Jack Clark (952)
26. Andre Dawson (957)
27. Jack Clark (943)
28. Jack Clark (933)
29. Dale Murphy (919)
30. Dave Winfield (922)
31. Dave Winfield (914)
32. Dale Murphy (913)
33. Dale Murphy (918)
34. Dwight Evans (904)
35. Dwight Evans (908)

You'll notice that these are all very good players, but of them, only Dave Winfield is in the Hall of Fame. I might make an argument for Dwight Evans, but nobody else has.

The Hall of Fame belongs to the greats. Let's let logic, not emotion, keep it so.

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