Bonds' chances in Veterans' hands
Committee voting results announced March 2
Bobby Bonds was not your typical ballplayer -- right from the start.
Gifted athletically, he smashed a grand slam in his Major League debut with the San Francisco Giants on June 25, 1968 -- the first player in the 20th century to do so -- and electrified fans with his multiple skills and aggressive play over a 14-year career.
Speed -- 461 stolen bases.
Power -- 332 homers.
Defense -- Three Gold Gloves.
Bonds, who died on Aug. 23, 2003, after battling lung cancer and a brain tumor, will be remembered as a prototypical five-tool leadoff batter, but one whose lifetime statistics fell short of having a plaque at Cooperstown.
The father of Giants slugger Barry Bonds -- who used to hang around the Candlestick Park clubhouse as a youngster -- will get another chance at acclaim when members of the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee announce voting results on March 2.
click player names for full bios:
Dick Allen (1963-77)
Bobby Bonds (1968-81)
Ken Boyer (1955-69)
Rocky Colavito (1955-68)
Wes Ferrell (1927-41)
Curt Flood (1956-69, 71)
Joe Gordon (1938-50)
Gil Hodges (1943, 1947-63)
Elston Howard (1955-68)
Jim Kaat (1959-83)
Mickey Lolich (1963-79)
Sparky Lyle (1967-82)
Marty Marion (1940-50, 52-53)
Roger Maris (1957-68)
Carl Mays (1915-29)
(1949, 1951-64, 76, 80)
Thurman Munson (1969-79)
Tony Oliva (1962-76)
Vada Pinson (1958-75)
Ron Santo (1960-74)
Luis Tiant (1964-82)
Joe Torre (1960-77)
Smoky Joe Wood
Maury Wills (1959-72)
The late Bonds is one of 25 former Major Leaguers vying for the honor. Also in the hunt are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Rocky Colavito, Wes Ferrell, Curt Flood, Joe Gordon, Gil Hodges, Elston Howard, Jim Kaat, Mickey Lolich, Sparky Lyle, Marty Marion, Roger Maris, Carl Mays, Minnie Minoso, Thurman Munson, Don Newcombe, Tony Oliva, Vada Pinson, Ron Santo, Luis Tiant, Joe Torre, Maury Wills and Smoky Joe Wood.
All candidates who earn votes on 75 percent of ballots cast will be enshrined during induction ceremonies on July 31.
Bonds' life was always about baseball. He played seven seasons with San Francisco, and also played for the New York Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
Bonds would spend 23 years with the Giants as a player, coach, scout and employee of the front office, and when his son joined the club in 1993, he was hired as hitting coach.
Bonds' game was about feet and feats. He stole 40 or more bases seven times, and 30 or more three other times. He set a single-season National League mark for most leadoff homers (11) in 1973, twice led the circuit in runs and had 30 or more homers six times.
Bobby showed little patience at the plate, setting a big league record with 185 strikeouts in 1969 and upping the count to 189 a year later, when he rapped 200 hits.
Although distant from the press, Bonds was an affable, upbeat teammate who spurred his colleagues on with passionate play. He was unfairly compared with fellow Giant great Willie Mays early in his career, but Bonds carved out his own unique baseball career.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.