Cover Image: The Case for Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame

The Case for Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame

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I tried and failed multiple times to get through this book. The title was compelling but the writing and argument couldn’t keep my attention. And now the ballot has come and Barry Bonds did not get in so the point is moot.
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Barry Bonds is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of Major League Baseball for many reasons.  Of course, the main reason is the allegations of his use of performance enhancing drugs while setting the all time record for home runs – one of the most hallowed records in all of sports.  Add in his personality and his frequent disdain of the press and you have a few of the main reasons given why as of this review, he has yet to be elected by baseball writers to the Hall of Fame. This book by K. P. Wee tells many reasons why he should be enshrined.

To Wee's credit, he realizes that many people are already set in their minds about Bonds and his worthiness to be enshrined or to hold the records that he does. He also acknowledges at the beginning of the book that he very likely will not change the minds of those who have such strong beliefs about Bonds, either way.  Instead, he states that the book is written to tell about relationships with former teammates, stories and statistics that have not been widely reported. 

To that extent, the book does do what it sets out to do, although there are several stories that are repeated many times during the book.  One example of this is that despite the coverage of the argument between Bonds and his manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time (1991), Jim Leyland, the two men have a strong friendship that endures to this day and the argument was something that was blown out of proportion.  This is one of many repetitive points, some of which come about because some of the players interviewed are quoted multiple times in different chapters.

Speaking of the chapters, each one is about either a reason that voters may cite in order to not vote for Bonds or reasons that the author believes are used in order to withhold a vote for Bonds.  Wee will either point to double standards with these reasons (why is so-and-so given a pass while Bonds is criticized for it?) or will provide eveidence that disputes the claim.  This makes up the bulk of the book and even though Wee may have stated that he was simply trying to set the record straight, it comes across as either excuses to those against Bonds being inducted or items that Bonds supporters will gleefully use without careful thought.

In the end, it was a book that I thought tried to carry out its mission and was substantial but missed its mark on trying to be objective.  Not that there is anything wrong with that and even if more people disagree with Wee than agree, he at least accomplishes one goal of presenting a case for Bonds to be included in the Hall of Fame. 

I wish to thank Riverdale Avenue Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is an interesting, though poorly written, biography of sorts of Barry Bonds. If read as such it is not bad. The repetition of weak or illogical arguments get in the way of much of the story.

As an argument for including Bonds in the Hall of Fame it falls very short. Before anyone dismisses my opinion of Wee's argument as being because I am supposedly a hater of Bonds, that is not the case. I liked him a lot until his head shrank, or his body morphed to the extent he was disproportioned. Even after that I didn't dislike him, I just no longer cared about him. He was a great player before his steroid use, and I am not going to say alleged because it isn't alleged, it is the truth. His decision to cheat wasn't because, like so many others, he needed it to excel. He needed it because he insisted on being the "best" even if cheating was the only way to compete with other cheaters for numbers titles. He was still a marvel to watch, but I no longer cared or respected him.

Wee, and most of Bonds' apologists lie about it not being against the rules (it was against the rules beginning in 1991, the year after it became illegal). When one has to lie as the core of one's argument, you know the argument is weak. Others were doing it so he "had" to keep up is part of this argument. In other words, cheating and using illegal substances is okay to these people as long as others are doing it. Wow, what a great lesson to teach future generations. The means are always justified by the ends.

Oh yeah, lets not forget the argument that there are others in the HOF who are every bit as bad and even worse. Well, that is true, but as a justification for admitting Bonds it is moot. This is the same mindset that says if someone is good enough at something they should be forgiven their sins, you know, like university swimmers who rape unconscious women. Not to mention that if the mistakes of the past allowed cheats and "bad" people into the Hall then we can never improve because when we decide to improve we are reminded that others are already in, so we can't improve. That is just nuts.

I don't think Bonds deserves to be praised for cheating, and that extends to all of the others who used PEDs. That said, I am not going to lose sleep if he gets in, which I expect him to at some point. He was a great player, has great numbers, and ultimately the HOF isn't about making either life or the game better, it is about money, and Bonds getting in will make them money. I have as much respect for Bonds as I do Ty Cobb, which is to say none.

I would recommend this book to those who like Bonds and want him in, the repetition will not bother you as much as it did me. I also think those wanting to know what is wrong with society, how we have become open about our lack of integrity and want to reward it with HOF enshrinement and Presidential catastrophes, will find in these convoluted and unethical arguments most of what is wrong in the world.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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I'm a Barry Bonds fan period.  I read this book because like the author who by the way did a great job of backing his argument that Barry Bonds needs to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I agree with the author.  I learned more about Barry then I knew before.  Yes I believe that Barry took PED's but like the author said he was a Hall of Famer before that already.    I liked how the author showed that their are a lot of Hall of Famers who did as bad or worse things and yet are still in the Hall of Fame.
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Outstanding look at baseball history for the most scrutinized athlete of our generation. Barry Bonds was a flawed person, but this book showed some of the hardships he dealt with from his personal life to baseball's "unwritten rules" being used to erase his legacy. As someone who fell out of love with baseball, this book reminded me of just how pivotal Bonds was for my peak interest in the sport. Must read for any MLB fan!
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Subtitle: The Untold and Forgotten Stories of Baseball’s Home Run King

This book argues that former Pirate and Giant Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader, should be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite his association with the use of performance enhancing drugs during the later seasons of his career. For the record, I agree that players like Bonds and Mark McGwire should be voted into the Hall. Their career statistics demand that they be included with the greatest players in the game, and PED usage was so widespread and undetected during the 80s and 90s that it’s difficult to tell for sure who was using them and who wasn’t.

I was a fan of Barry Bonds through much of his career, particularly during his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I didn’t follow him as closely once he left them to join the San Francisco Giants. He didn’t need steroids to excel, but felt upstaged by McGwire and Sammy Sosa in their race to break Roger Maris’s single-season home run record in 1998.

That said, I found this book to be on the annoying side. The same arguments by the same players seemed to be recycled again and again, and some of the points were also recycled numerous times. In the section about Bonds’ overall poor performance in the post-season, the author used the ‘what if’ scenario to excuse multiple losses by Bonds’ teams – ‘what if’s’ cut work both for and against any particular player or team. The author makes a lot of valid points about how a player’s relationship with the media shouldn’t affect their ability to get their votes for the Hall of Fame, but the point is made so repetitively that it grew tiresome.

I gave The Case for Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame three stars. I think it was unnecessarily long due to its repetitiveness. I think it would have made a better extended article than book, and would have preferred a more balanced presentation.
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The Case for Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame by K. P. Wee was an advanced reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I requested this book because I am a big Giants fan. The one game I got to see was in 2002 and everytime Barry Bonds was up at bat, they walked him. I didn't realize at the time why the opposing team did that. I then became a fan in 2010 and have been learning everything I can about the game and the players. I have heard endless praise for Bonds and what he was able to accomplish from Giants broadcasters and not much from others. It was so interesting to read this book and learn more about Bonds and why he hasn't been voted in to the hall of fame. To me, it's a no grainer, he should be in it, but I didn't realize there were so many haters. I am an introvert and have been called cold, rude and standoffish and I wish people would understand that being quiet doesn't mean your rude. I loved this book and have even more respect for Barry Bonds.
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