Barry Bonds is hands down the best home run hitter of all time regardless if he took steroids or not. People either love Barry Bonds for his outstanding career or absolutely despise him for his part in the steroid scandal. He was drafted 6th overall in the first round of the 1985 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He set a ton of records throughout his legendary career but some people put an asterisk next to his stats. He was walked an amazing 2,558 times throughout his 22-year career. There has never been someone who was so feared at the plate by opposing pitchers and teams.
Barry was born to play baseball, his dad Bobby Bonds and his godfather Willie Mays were both MLB legends for the San Francisco Giants. Barry still says that the best day of his life is when he ‘went home’ and signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1992 coming off an MVP season in Pittsburgh. A lot of people don’t know that there was a good chance the Giants were going to leave San Francisco before Bonds arrival, however, after watching Bonds drop bombs the fans quickly fell in love with the Giants again and sold out games regularly. Barry grew up in San Francisco and has always been a big supporter of the Bay Area.
Barry won the MVP award seven times, had eight Silver Slugger awards, and 14 All-Star game appearances. However, the most important record he holds is 762 home runs which is the most ever in the history of the MLB. He also has the record for most home runs ever hit in one season with 73. Barry won the MVP four years in a row following setting that record in 2001. He helped the Giants get to the World Series in 2002 which was his only appearance ever in the World Series. The Giants ultimately lost to the Anaheim Angels in seven games but Barry batted .471, had four home runs, and 13 walks in the series. Barry was the type of guy who wanted to be up in the bottom of the ninth in the game-deciding at-bat.
Anyone who had the pleasure of watching his historic climb to the top of the home run category surely realized his greatness. The sound was like a small bomb detonated every time Barry made contact with a baseball and then to see it was like a ball was shot out of a cannon to the moon. Barry Bonds is the definition of dropping bombs. The Giants conveniently built AT&T park in 1999 for the last seven years of Bonds career. What was unique and perfect for the left hand hitting Bonds about AT&T park is that behind the 309-foot right-field wall is the San Francisco Bay. Barry hit 38 “splash shots” into the bay during his time in San Francisco. He also hit number 756 which was the record-setting home run at AT&T Park.
Barry started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a 21-year-old skinny, cut speedster and at the end, he was the bulky power hitting 42-year-old that we all remember seeing on SportsCenter day in and day out for his involvement in the steroid scandal. Barry got walked more than anyone ever by far, he set the MLB record for walks in a season three separate times due to the intense fear opposing teams had of his power. The most he ever had in one season was 232 walks but he also had seasons with 198 and 177 walks. The next person behind Bonds for most walks ever in fourth place is the Yankee Legend Babe Ruth.
The media was never a friend of Bonds, during the prime of his career he was the most popular topic on SportsCenter and it was always something negative about him. He got so much media attention that ESPN actually dedicated one reporter(Pedro Gomez) to only report on what was happening with Barry Bonds for three seasons while he was chasing Hank Aaron’s home run record. The Media members would constantly ask him difficult questions about his involvement in steroids which ultimately led to a hateful relationship between Bonds and the media. He was always short and rude with the media which just fueled them to give him even a harder time than before. Barry has always considered himself a loner and was a quiet guy, for the most part, He chose to do most of his talking with his bat. The steroid scandal destroyed as much of Bonds career and reputation as much as it possibly could have. As soon as he stopped playing for the Giants all traces of Barry were stripped from the stadium including posters, plaques, banners, and endorsements.
To watch the way Barry was treated after his retirement was nothing short of heartbreaking for San Francisco Giants fans. Barry also did not want to be done playing but was ultimately forced to due to no teams offering him. The fact that Barry could do so much for the city of San Francisco and then they treat him like they don’t even know him as soon as his contract runs out is terrible. Even though baseball is mostly just a business, the special relationship between bonds and the city of San Francisco always felt like more than just a business arrangement.
After a long hiatus from baseball, Barry accepted a job as the Miami Marlin’s hitting coach. After he was done in Miami, Bonds returned to San Francisco and accepted a community relations role with the Giants which is the same role Willie Mays, Wille McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda hold. But now the Giants have finally come to their senses and are retiring the number 25 jersey on August 11th against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants will also hold a special ceremony to celebrate the legacy of the greatest home run hitter of all time on that night. Unfortunately, because of Bond’s accused use of PEDs he most likely will never make it into the Hall of Fame. His best chance was last year when he got 65 percent of votes however, he needed 75 percent to get in. Say what you want about Bonds and his character but the world may never see anyone hit home runs like that again.