In the over 100+ years of baseball history, there are very few (if any) players who are more polarizing than Barry Bonds. He was fantastic on the field, but also had his fair share of off the field issues. Here I will look at his career on the field as well as his controversies and struggles.
Barry Bonds was born in Riverside California and his father was a former Major League player and thus, Bonds has baseball in his blood and excelled in almost every sport during high school. In fact, he was actually drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1982 draft but instead elected to go to college as the team and he couldn’t come to an agreement.
After dominating in college for a few years, he was selected sixth overall in the 1985 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made his MLB debut in 1986 and immediately made his presence felt with both his hitting and base running. Early in his career, he batted in the leadoff spot and experienced great success there. He won his first MVP award in 1990 and continued his great play for the next few years as well.
But in 1993, he left the Pirates to join the San Francisco Giants for a record contract and over the year, he turned into more of a power hitter. In fact, Bonds holds both the record for most home runs in a season (with 73) and most in a career (with 762). He is also the only player to hit over 500 home runs and steal 500 bases. In his career, Bonds was an all star 14 times and won the NL MVP award a staggering 7 times, including four straight from 2001-2004.
And while his numbers, accolades and accomplishments are undeniable, he is likely better known by some for his key role in the BALCO scandal, which definitely put a huge asterisk next to all of those massive accomplishments I went over earlier. Since 2003, he was a key figure in the BALCO scandal, about a huge steroid ring in numerous sports. He first became involved in the scandal in 2003 when his trainer (Greg Anderson) was indicted on charges of supplying various athletes with anabolic steroids. This obviously led many people to speculate that Bonds had taken steroids, as his body had changed over the years and he turned into more of a power hitter. He denied these claims, claiming that he got the added power and bulk from a strict workout regimen, a better diet and legal supplements.
However, even though these denials, it is largely accepted by most that Bonds had taken steroids throughout his career. In fact (despite his amazing on field accomplishments) Bonds has not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and many believe it is because of the steroid scandal that surrounds him. The question of if he will ever get in or not is one that will surely rage on for years to come as some support Bonds and others think he is one of the biggest cheats out there.