The San Francisco Giants have never retired the jersey of a player who isn’t enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but then there’s never been anybody like Barry Bonds.
Monday night, the Giants released a curious video on their social media channels. The 10-second video shows a flickering image of jersey No. 25. The only words are: “Coming soon…”
Last July, Bonds was added to the Giants’ Wall of Fame outside AT&T Park, an honor bestowed on anyone who played nine seasons for the Giants, or played five and made an All Star team. At the time, Bonds expressed confidence that the Giants would retire his jersey at some point, putting his No. 25 next to the No. 24 worn by his godfather, Willie Mays.
Bonds, 53, was a seven-time MVP and hit more home runs in a career (762) and in a season (73) than any player in history. But he has failed to gain election to the Hall of Fame, owing to his ties to performance-enhancing drugs. In six elections, his share of the vote has grown from 36.2 percent to 56.4 percent, but 75 percent is required and he has just four more chances.
The Giants’ willingness to embrace and immortalize Bonds would no doubt help his candidacy, and the Giants are not strangers to such promotion. They lobbied hard to get Orlando Cepeda into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Giants have retired nine numbers: Bill Terry (3); Mel Ott (4); Carl Hubbell (11); Monte Irvin (20); Mays (24); Juan Marichal (27); Cepeda (30); Gaylord Perry (36); and Willie McCovey (44). There are statues at AT&T park of the latter five.
The club also retired the jerseys of Christy Mathewson and manager John McGraw, who represented the franchise when it called New York home. Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 is retired across Major League Baseball.