Bonds deserves Hall of Fame: player poll

NEW YORK Thu May 6, 2010 9:53am EDT

San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds waves to the crowd after returning to the dugout from his left field position during the Giants MLB National League baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, California September 26, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds waves to the crowd after returning to the dugout from his left field position during the Giants MLB National League baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, California September 26, 2007 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home run record holder Barry Bonds should be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite suspicions he used performance enhancing drugs, according to a poll of Major League Baseball players.

An anonymous player poll conducted by ESPN the Magazine during spring training in March showed 67 percent felt the former San Francisco Giants slugger deserves to be honored in Cooperstown in upstate New York.

"He's the greatest hitter ever," one veteran infielder said in the survey of 20 hot-button topics that will appear in the May 17 issue of ESPN the Magazine. The minority view on Bonds was expressed by an American League slugger, who told the magazine: "No way. He juiced out of his mind."

Bonds, who passed Hank Aaron to become MLB's career home run leader in 2007, still faces perjury charges stemming from grand jury testimony he had not used performance enhancing drugs.

Among other results, players favored eliminating the designated hitter by 55 to 45 percent; 87 percent said they would rather win a World Series than an MVP award, and Yankees were tipped as baseball's top three over-rated players -- Joba Chamberlain, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue)

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