Whether you love him or hate him — and believe me, there is no in-between — Barry Bonds will be pushed to make the Hall-Of-Fame by many. After chatting with MLB.com, he believes he belongs as well, despite his hormone enhanced career.
"Oh, without a doubt. There's not a doubt in my mind," Bonds said during his interview at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"I respect the Hall of Fame, don't get me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think we all do," Bonds said. "I love the city of San Francisco and to me that's my Hall of Fame. I don't worry about it because I don't want to be negative about the way other people think it should be run. That's their opinion, and I'm not going to be negative."
So while Bonds' statements make us really ponder whether or not he, along with many others of his generation, belongs in the Hall, I'm not going to be negative either. Here is the list of the top eight players that are not in Cooperstown but probably deserve to be.
#8 Lou Whitaker – 2B – Tigers
An interesting set of factoids are posted on 'Sweet Lou's' Baseball Reference page that read, "Roberto Alomar: 2320 g at 2B, 116 OPS+, 63.5 WAR, 7 teams. Famous misdeed: Spat at umpire. Result: 2nd-ballot HOFer. Sweet Lou: 2308 g at 2B, 116 OPS+, 69.7 WAR, 1 team. Famous misdeed: Forgot uniform at 1985 ASG. Result: 2.9% of HOF vote. Go figure…" In short: if Alomar gets in, so should Whitaker.
#7 Jeff Bagwell – 1B – Astros
Someone mentions the name and I have my doubts — until I look at his career numbers. His career WAR of 79.9 is better than Ken Griffey Jr., Rod Carew, Robin Yount, Frank Thomas, Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench. Bagwell is just one of 22 players since World War II with 1,500 RBIs and 1,500 runs scored, and his 152 runs scored in 2000 are the most in one season since the great depression. Of those 22 players, he ranks seventh in OPS. He holds a career .297 average, 449 home runs and 202 stolen bases. If he had played in a larger market he would be a shoe-in.
#6 Mark McGwire – 1B – Athletics, Cardinals
Out of all the 'juicers,' McGwire might be the one up most for debate. He doesn't have an MVP award to his resume, but what he does have is 583 home runs (which is 10th all-time and only trails Sammy Sosa as the only player that is retired and not in the Hall-Of-Fame) and 12 All-Star appearances. His career slugging percentage is eighth highest in the history of baseball.
#5 Sammy Sosa – OF – Cubs, White Sox, Rangers, Orioles
Sure, he got caught cheating with a corked bat (which is actually proven to not help hit home runs), and he's been on the juice. But in my opinion, you take the best players from each generation, regardless of the circumstances of the time. The dude has 609 career home runs, a .273 average, and has been to seven All-Star games while garnering six Silver Sluggers.
#4 Barry Bonds – OF – Giants, Pirates
Bonds hit 762 home runs and won seven MVP awards to go with eight Gold Gloves. The only player in the history of baseball that has a higher Wins Above Replacement is Babe Ruth — and it's only by a hair.
#3 Roger Clemens – SP – Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays
He has 7 Cy Young awards (most all-time), 4672 strikeouts (3rd all-time) and has a 133.1 WAR, which for pitchers is third all-time, only behind Walter Johnson and Cy Young. Many consider 'The Rocket,' the best pitcher to ever toss a baseball.
#2 Joe Jackson – OF – White Sox, Indians, Athletics
3rd all-time in career batting average at a ridiculous .356 clip, he was one of the greatest players of his era, one that even Babe Ruth looked up to in his younger years. He was banned from baseball for not throwing the 1919 World Series (he was one of the best performers of the Series), but simply for knowing that the 'fix' was on. Guess you could say he was in a tight spot. I mean, would you rat out the mob??
#1 Pete Rose – OF, 1B, 3B – Reds, Phillies, Expos
Well, let's see… He is the all-time hits leader (4,256), owns the longest hitting streak in National League history at 44 games, and owns the record for most games played while also being the only player to play 500+ games at five different positions. 'Charlie Hustle' belongs, regardless of his criminal record.
Josh Helmut his the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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