I know. I’m as shocked as you are. John Shea at the San Francisco Chronicle has the scoop:
Barry Bonds’ agent finally acknowledged Wednesday that the home run king is done playing baseball.
“It’s two years since he played his last game, and if there was any
chance he’d be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened
by now,” agent Jeff Borris told The Chronicle.
There’s a certain brand of sabermetrically-inclined fan — many of whom are friends of mine — who think that Barry could still DH for someone if he was given a week or two in a batting cage. I’m extremely dubious of this, and was last year and even a good way back into 2008. Sure, he probably can still tell a ball from a strike better than anyone, but entropy is a bitch once you reach a certain age, and even the Great Barry Bonds’ baseball body is going to quickly decline without regular use. He probably should have broke camp as someone’s DH a couple of years ago, but I long gave up any hope that he’d don a uniform again.
The real question, of course, is the Hall of Fame. 2013 is his eligibility date. All things being equal he’d be a first ballot inductee. Of course all things aren’t equal with him. There’s some softening on the Mark McGwire’s of the world, but no one was the face of the Steroid Era like Barry Bonds was. He’s going to take the heat for that, likely delaying his induction for a good long while. This despite the fact that (a) there’s no evidence to suggest that he was deeper into PEDs to a greater degree than any other player of his era; and (b) he was likely a Hall of Famer before the turn of century and his association with BALCO.
If I had the franchise, I’d vote for him in a second. I’d expect, however, Barry won’t be getting into the Hall of Fame without a ticket until he’s an old man.