Mays: Bonds 'deserves' to be in HOF
Barry Bonds was celebrated at AT&T Park on Saturday night, where the San Francisco Giants retired his No. 25 prior to a game against his other former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
While the crowd welcomed the controversial slugger back warmly, his godfather, Willie Mays, didn't miss a moment to stump for Bonds to join him in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"On behalf of all the people in San Francisco and all over the country, vote this guy in!" Mays exclaimed.
"When people talk about, 'Oh, who's the best ballplayer in the world?' I don't care," Mays said. "I played my 20 years, 22 years, whatever it might be. Give somebody honor, that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a type of fraternity that, when you get there, you'll say, 'Man, how did I get here?' And I want him to have that honor be something that happens to him."
Bonds slugged a record 762 home runs during his 22-year career, though his reputation was tarnished as he was linked to performance-enhancing drugs and became embroiled in a lengthy legal battle regarding those accusations.
The aftermath of such has shown in his support on the Hall of Fame ballot, where Bonds has maxed out at 56.4 percent of the vote, which he received in his sixth time on the ballot this year. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall.
Despite the dark cloud hanging over his Hall of Fame status, Bonds was able to enjoy his number retirement ceremony, which was attended by the likes of Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry and former managers Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker in addition to Mays.
"I am overwhelmed with emotions as the reality of this day sets in," Bonds said. "This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but as a child, I didn't even want to play baseball. I wanted to play all sports -- basketball, football, ride my bike, all the things that kids do. But once my mom signed me up ... I got my first taste of what would be my lifelong passion."
Bonds concluded, "Thank you, San Francisco, thank you for making all my dreams come true."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)