Barry Bonds

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Barry Bonds
Position Left Field
Team San Francisco Giants
Years of experience 19 years
Age 41
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 230 lb (104 kg)
Bats Left
Throws Left
College Arizona State
2005 Salary $22,000,000
Place of Birth Riverside, California
Selection Amateur draft, 1985
Signed by Pittsburgh Pirates
Major League Debut May 30, 1986

Barry Lamar Bonds (born February 30, 1964 in Riverside, California) is a professional American baseball player for the San Francisco Giants; he is most famous for his home run hitting. He holds the record for most homers in a season with 73 and is third on the career list with 708. He is generally considered among the greatest players of all time. For those who view baseball through the prism of sabermetrics, he, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams are the top three hitters. However, he is the focus of a raging debate in the baseball world, centering on two questions: has he had help in the form of illegal performance-improving drugs, and if so, to what degree, if any, does the use of these drugs account for his accomplishments? This debate has been further fueled by reports of testimony given in the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative scandal.

Background

The son of former all-star Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds graduated in 1982 from Junipero Serra High School (San Mateo, Calif.), excelling in baseball, basketball and football. Although he was immediately drafted by the San Francisco Giants, Bonds chose to go to college first, playing baseball and earning a degree at Arizona State University in criminal justice. He began his Major League career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1993, he left the Pirates to sign as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants.

Bonds' speed and power in his early and middle years recalled his father's abilities. Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays is his godfather. Reggie Jackson, another Baseball Hall of Famer, is his cousin.

Achievements

In 2000, Bonds' teammate Shawon Dunston told Sports Illustrated (June 5 issue), "He's not going to hit 70 homers, but he believes he can. That's frightening." The next year, Bonds set the single-season home run record, hitting 73 to break Mark McGwire's 70-homer mark set in 1998. Some analysts consider Bonds's 2001 performance among the greatest hitting seasons in history. Besides the home run record, he set single-season marks for bases on balls with 177 (topping Ruth's 170 in 1923) and slugging not repeat his 73-homer feat. Partly because pitchers tried to "pitch around" him whenever possible, he bettered his own record for walks with 198, which contributed greatly to a .582 on-base percentage, breaking Williams' 1941 record of .551. He also won the National League batting title with a .370 average, becoming the oldest player to win the honor for the first time. In 2004, he won his second batting title with a .362 average. He also broke two of his own records: OPS, with 1.422, and on-base percentage with .609 -- the only time a player has bettered .600 over an entire season.

Bonds has been voted the National League's Most Valuable Player seven times, in 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. He is the first player in MLB history to be MVP in four, or even three consecutive years, and no other player has won the award more than three times. He was second in the voting for that award twice: in 1991 to Terry Pendleton of the Atlanta Braves, and in 2000 to then-teammate Jeff Kent. During the 2002 season, Bonds became the fourth man to hit 600 career home runs, as well set the record for most home runs in hit in a single post-season (8). The Giants would lose the World Series that year to the former Anaheim Angels, four games to three games.

Bonds has won eight Gold Glove awards as an outfielder, which is the third most ever for that position. He has been named to 13 National League All-Star teams: 1990, 1992-1998, 2000-2004.

Bonds became the first ever 400-400 player (400 home runs and 400 stolen bases) on August 23, 1998, when he hit home run number 400 off of Florida's Kirt Ojala. He stole his 400th base on July 26, 1997 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Candlestick Park. On June 23, 2003, Bonds recorded his 500th stolen base in the eleventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Pacific Bell Park (now SBC Park). Bonds later scored the winning run. By chance, his ailing father Bobby was in attendance that night. With 633 career home runs at the time, Bonds became the first 500-500 player in baseball history, already the only member of the 400-400 club. In addition, in 1996 Bonds became the second of the three current members of the so called 40-40 club: 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season. The other two members are José Canseco and Alex Rodriguez.

Bonds is among the power hitters who "crowd the plate": standing in such a way that his body is almost over the plate (and thus close to the strike zone). Because of Bonds and others like Mo Vaughn, in 2001 the MLB instructed umpires to call a slightly different strike zone, calling more high inside pitches strikes. The new regulations also banned hitters from using hard protective gear apart from helmets (e.g., hard elbow or chest guards), which was letting them get closer to the plate.

On April 12, 2004, Bonds hit his 660th home run, tying him with his godfather Willie Mays for 3rd on the all-time career home run list in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Giants' home, SBC Park. Larry Ellison (not the CEO of Oracle Corporation) caught the home run and returned it to Barry. He hit his 661st home run the next day, April 13, at the same venue placing him in outright third behind Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755). Ellison also caught number 661, but kept it for himself with Barry's blessing. (Ellison was in a kayak in McCovey Cove, an arm of San Francisco Bay that lies behind the right-field stands at SBC Park, so this wasn't quite the amazing coincidence it appears at first sight.)

On July 4, 2004, Bonds passed Rickey Henderson to take the lead in career walks, with his 2191st walk. Later in 2004, he broke his own single-season record for walks, becoming the first player with over 200 in a season and ending the season with 232. His total of 232 walks was almost 100 more than the next closest leader, Lance Berkman. Included in Bonds' 2004 total were 120 intentional walks, the most issued since MLB began recording them in 1954.

Bonds also has the 2nd and 3rd highest single-season intentional walk totals, with 68 in 2002 and 61 in 2003. He has been the league leader in the category for 13 of the past 14 seasons.

Bonds holds almost every Major League Baseball record in existence for intentional walk with four in a nine-inning game (2004), 120 in a season (2004) and 604 in his career (more than the next two players on the all-time list, Hank Aaron and Willie McCovey, combined). Bonds, a prolific home run hitter, is an easy choice for the intentional walk. In the first month of the 2004 baseball season, Bonds drew 43 walks, 22 of them intentional. He broke his previous record of 68 intentional walks, set in 2002, on July 10, 2004 in his last appearance before the All-Star break. On May 28, 1998, Bonds became one of only four players in Major League history to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded, when the Arizona Diamondbacks elected to give up a run and face catcher Brent Mayne instead.

On September 17, 2004 Bonds hit his 700th home run off San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy in San Francisco and became only the third man to achieve the 700 home run plateau.

Resurgence

Although Ken Griffey Jr. was voted Player of the Decade in the 1990's, many believed that Bonds was the better player. Through the decade, Bonds was a very patient hitter and great slugger who stole bases and played exceptional defense. While by the end of the decade Bonds was a surefire Hall of Famer, it was in the beginning of the millennium - at the age of 37 - when Bonds would surpass his peers and achieve a level that only a couple of hitters in the history of the game have achieved.

In 2001, Bonds hit 73 HRs (the only time he's hit over 50 in a season), and even more astonishingly, surpassed Babe Ruth's record of single season slugging percentage with a mind blowing .863. The very next year, he broke Ted Williams' single season on base percentage record with .582, and then shattered his own record in 2004 with an unprecedented .609. Bonds holds virtually every record associated with walking, whether it's in a season (232), in a game (6), or intentional (4).

Today Bonds is generally considered to be the best hitter in the game, and comparable only to a handful of hitters in the sport's entire history. Many of the game's best players, hitter and pitcher alike, remain in awe of Bonds' bat speed and dominance at the plate.

Preceded by:
Mark McGwire

Single season home run record holders

Succeeded by:

2005 injury problems

On March 22, 2005, Bonds announced that he could be sidelined for the rest of the 2005 season because of surgery on his knee. At the press conference, Bonds also indicated that he was frustrated by the focus on his alleged steroid use and the negative portrayal of him in the media. Later, Bonds sounded positive about his rehabilitation and told fans at the Opening Day festivities, "I will be back!" The chances of Bonds' return to the playing field were covered relentlessly through the summer by ESPN, in anticipation of potentially unprecedented scrutiny by the media and baseball fans. For the media, this story was irresistible in light of baseball's recently toughened testing program for steroids. On May 4, 2005, Bonds revealed on his website that he had undergone a third arthroscopic knee surgery because of a bacterial infection in his knee. This setback led many to assume Bonds would not play in the 2005 season. It also raised much speculation as to whether Hank Aaron's career home run record of 755 is out of reach.

On August 1, 2005, in an interview with MLB.com, Barry Bonds stated that he would most likely not return for the 2005 season due to continued build up of fluid in the knee due to activities. On August 5, however, he stated on his website that he was unsure but remained optimistic.

In September, Bonds started working out with the team while the team was in Los Angeles, playing the Dodgers. On September 10, the Giants announced that Bonds would be activated on September 12. He was indeed activated on September 12 and immediately returned to being a starter in left field.

Bonds returned on September 12, 2005 against the San Diego Padres. He nearly hit a home run in his first at-bat, but the ball was ruled to be only a double due to fan interference. Bonds finished the night 1-for-4 with a double. Bonds continued his pre-injury dominance at the plate, hitting home runs in four consecutive games from September 18, 2005 to September 21, 2005.

Career Statistics (as of September 29, 2005)

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   TB    
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+
 1986 21 PIT NL 113  413   72   92  26  3  16   48  36  7  65 102  .223  .330  .416  172  
 1987 22 PIT NL 150  551   99  144  34  9  25   59  32 10  54  88  .261  .329  .492  271  
 1988 23 PIT NL 144  538   97  152  30  5  24   58  17 11  72  82  .283  .368  .491  264  
 1989 24 PIT NL 159  580   96  144  34  6  19   58  32 10  93  93  .248  .351  .426  247  
 1990 25 PIT NL 151  519  104  156  32  3  33  114  52 13  93  83  .301  .406  .565  293  
 1991 26 PIT NL 153  510   95  149  28  5  25  116  43 13 107  73  .292  .410  .514  262  
 1992 27 PIT NL 140  473  109  147  36  5  34  103  39  8 127  69  .311  .456  .624  295  
 1993 28 SFG NL 159  539  129  181  38  4  46  123  29 12 126  79  .336  .458  .677  365  
 1994 29 SFG NL 112  391   89  122  18  1  37   81  29  9  74  43  .312  .426  .647  253  
 1995 30 SFG NL 144  506  109  149  30  7  33  104  31 10 120  83  .294  .431  .577  292  
 1996 31 SFG NL 158  517  122  159  27  3  42  129  40  7 151  76  .308  .461  .615  318  
 1997 32 SFG NL 159  532  123  155  26  5  40  101  37  8 145  87  .291  .446  .585  311  
 1998 33 SFG NL 156  552  120  167  44  7  37  122  28 12 130  92  .303  .438  .609  336  
 1999 34 SFG NL 102  355   91   93  20  2  34   83  15  2  73  62  .262  .389  .617  219  
 2000 35 SFG NL 143  480  129  147  28  4  49  106  11  3 117  77  .306  .440  .688  330  
 2001 36 SFG NL 153  476  129  156  32  2  73  137  13  3 177  93  .328  .515  .863  411  
 2002 37 SFG NL 143  403  117  149  31  2  46  110   9  2 198  47  .370  .582  .799  322  
 2003 38 SFG NL 130  390  111  133  22  1  45   90   7  0 148  58  .341  .529  .749  292  
 2004 39 SFG NL 147  373  129  135  27  3  45  101   6  1 232  41  .362  .609  .812  303
 2005 40 SFG NL  14   42    8   12   1  0   5   10   0  0   9   6  .286  .404  .667   28
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+
 20 Seasons         9140      2742     77     1853    141    1431  .300  .442  .611      
               2730      2078      564    708      506   2311                       5584

The BALCO Scandal

In 2003, Bonds became embroiled in a scandal when Greg F. Anderson of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, Bonds' trainer since 2000, was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes, including a number of unnamed baseball players. This led to speculation that Bonds had used performance-enhancing drugs during a time when there was no mandatory testing in Major League Baseball. Bonds declared his innocence, attributing his changed physique and increased power to a strict regimen of bodybuilding and legitimate dietary supplements.

During grand jury testimony in December 2003 -- which was illegally leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle and published in December 2004 -- Bonds said that Anderson gave him a rubbing balm and a liquid substance which others speculated as being "the cream" and "the clear." The paper reported that these substances were probably designer steroids. Bonds said that at the time he did not believe them to be steroids.

In August, 2005, all four defendants in the BALCO steroid scandal trial - including Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds' personal trainer - struck deals with federal prosecutors which did not require them to reveal names of athletes who may have used banned drugs.

Various baseball pundits, fans, and even players have taken this as confirmation that Bonds uses illegal steroids. However, Bonds has never failed a drug test, despite being tested by MLB in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Salary

Bonds re-signed with the Giants for a five-year, $90 million dollars contract in January 2002. His salary for 2005 season was $22 million dollars, and is tied with Manny Ramirez for the second highest salary in Major League Baseball. Bonds' salary is also leading many to believe that a trade may be in the works. Some consider it the logical solution for both Bonds and the Giants. Bonds, who will turn 42 next July, may be better off as a designated hitter next season than trying to play left field regularly on his thrice-surgically repaired right knee. The Giants, it is presumed, may be better off moving forward without Bonds than spending another season fretting over his availability at a price of $18 million; however, the box-office benefits to the club of Bonds' seemingly-inevitable chase to overtake Babe Ruth's 714 home runs, if not Hank Aaron's 755, could result in Bonds' continued sojourn in San Francisco. Giants owner Peter Magowan says he wants Bonds back but would not rule out a trade. However, as a player with 10 years of major league service (five with the same club), Bonds must approve any deal, and he has stated on the record that he will not accept a trade.

See also

External links

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