Barry Bonds getting hired as a special advisor to the CEO of the San Francisco Giants earlier this year was as much about Bonds getting accepted back into the Giants fold as it was him helping the players on the field this season.
And so, the Giants have announced their first round of plans to finally honor Bonds as one of the organization’s greatest players. They said on Wednesday that Bonds will get a Wall of Fame plaque at AT&T Park in a July 8 ceremony. It’s not the end-all-be-all of Bonds worship, but it’s a good start for an organization that’s wrestled with how to celebrate Bonds’ cloudy legacy.
From the Giants’ announcement:
The Giants Wall of Fame serves as a living tribute to the organization’s greatest players. It recognizes retired players whose records stand highest among their teammates on the basis of longevity and achievements. Those honored have played a minimum of nine seasons for the San Francisco Giants, or five seasons with at least one All-Star selection as a Giant. Bronze plaques honoring these players and their baseball contributions line the brick wall of AT&T Park along King Street for all Giants fans to enjoy. Bonds will join 48 other Giants legends who have received the Wall of Fame honor.
So the Giants have deemed Bonds one of the best 49 players in the team’s history, huh? It was probably a close call, what, with that 162.4 career WAR. But this is about more than numbers, it’s about the divisiveness of Bonds and baseball’s inability to sort out the legacies of players from the steroid era.
Getting on the Giants’ Wall of Fame is probably the most benign honor Bonds can get, but you can bet some baseball fans will be shouting “Steroids!” at even that. (Go ahead, scroll down to the comments of this very post; they’ll be there).
It’s wise the Giants are taking baby steps here. Making him one of 49 players on the team’s Wall of Fame? C’mon, of course he deserves that. If not for the steroid beliefs, Bonds would have had a Wall of Fame spot the day after he played his final game for the Giants.
The bigger issue will be whether they build him a statue or retire his number, though the Giants typically only retire numbers of Hall of Famers — which brings up a whole different discussion that’s out of SF’s purview.
Honoring Bonds will continue to be tricky in the coming years. As the Giants get ready to start down that road, we’re quite certain they know that.
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