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Barry Bonds And His Controversial Baseball Career

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Bonds smashed his way into the record books. Barry Bonds was a former professional baseball player that played at the highest level. Barry Bonds was born on July 24, 1964. He played baseball all four years of highschool and graduated in 1982. Bonds was a standout highschool player that was drafted out of highschool. Barry Bonds has been one of the most impactful players in the MLB because of his impressive career, the steroid era, and the way he changed the game.

Bonds was a really high prospect that many teams liked and wanted on their team. Bonds was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the amateur draft, but decided to play college ball at Arizona State University. After his four years of ball at Arizona State he has tremendous stats that shot him even higher on the draft board. Bonds had a total .347 batting average with 45 home runs and 175 runs batted in throughout his college career. After college Bonds draft stock was very high, he was a great ball player with a lot of pressure on him to be good. Barry Bonds was the son of All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonds (1946–2003) and godson of Hall of Famer Willie Mays. He had a lot of pressure and had some big shoes to fill after his father. Bonds ended up being a first-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985, he was the fifth overall pick in the draft. In the following year he led all National League rookies in homers, RBIs, walks, and stolen bases. In the following three years he had an average of .264, had a total of 440 hits and 68 home runs. Bonds was a 1990s superstar. Just five years after him being drafted he had his first breakout season in 1990. He slammed 33 home runs, 114 RBI’s, batted .301, and stole 52 bases. His efforts earned him his first MVP of many. After the 1992 season, when he won his second MVP award as a Pirate, Bonds became a free agent and signed a six-year, $43.75 million deal that brought him back to the Bay Area to play outfield with the Giants. He won his third MVP Award in 1993, after a season in which he had a league-leading 46 home runs and 123 RBIs (Lamar).

In his next few years he was still playing amazing ball. From 1993 to 1998 he was voted to the all star game every year. In 1999 his game depleted just a bit. He wasn’t an all star or anywhere close. This was how he ended his terror of the 90’s. In 2000 he had a rebound year making the all star game again. Instead of his career declining because of his age, Bonds did the exact opposite. Bonds bulked up before the 2001 season and had a monster of a year. Bonds went on to have arguably the best year in baseball history smashing his way into the record books. Bonds hit an astounding 73 home runs in one season. On October 4, 2001, during a game in Houston, Tex., Bonds hit his 70th home run of the season, tying a record set by McGwire in 1998. The next night, back at San Francisco’s Pacific Bell Park, he broke it, hitting number 71 in the first inning, then adding number 72, again. He hit one more on the last day of the season to end up with 73 (Lamar). This season Bonds had put him into the category of some of the best players to ever play the game. The next few seasons Bonds continued his torrid pace during the next three seasons, winning his fifth, sixth, and seventh MVP trophies. He hit at least 45 homers in each year, despite the fact that opponents often elected to pitch around him; he drew 198 walks in 2002, 148 in 2003, and 232 (a new record) in 2004, when he struck out only 41 times and set a single-season mark for on-base average (.609). He hit his 600th home run in 2002, making him only the fourth player to reach that plateau (Lamar). Bonds finished the 2007 season,his last with the Giants.He ended with the career totals of 762 home runs, 2227 runs scored, 1996 RBIs, a .298 batting average, and a slugging average of .607(Baseball Reference). Bond’s career was one to remember and should be in the Hall of Fame, right?

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In 2001 rumors that Bonds and other players around the league were using PEDs and the league targeted Bonds with his late resurgence in 01. Bonds publicly denied that he used performance-enhancing drugs. In 2011, a jury found Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice in connection with the steroids investigation. Later that year, a judge sentenced Bonds to two years of probation, 250 hours of community service, a $4,000 fine, and 30 days of home confinement. Bonds appealed the conviction. On March 17, 2005, the Steroid Era crisis hit critical mass as a handful of players sat before the House Government Reform Committee to answer questions about drug use in professional baseball(Corzine). Lots of players were there. These players included Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, Jose Canseco, and Frank Thomas. One of the biggest names that was surprising left out of the conversation for a little bit was Barry Bonds. With Bonds out of the picture, most of the attention that day was focused on Mark McGwire with a searing intensity for which the retired slugger was clearly not prepared. McGwire had been out of the limelight since his 2001 retirement but remained in the conversation(Corzine). McGwire was questioned very heavily by the press from these acquisitions. He was the very first player in the MLB to be accused of using steroids. When William Clay, the representative from St. Louis, asked McGwire if he could assure his fans that he had played the game with “honesty and integrity,” the slugger visibly shrank. McGwire knew he couldn’t hide the fact that he had used the steroids and had cheated to get that physical advantage against his competition. Each time McGwire was asked to respond to allegations of steroid use, he retreated behind the increasingly bizarre and embarrassing defense that, while he wanted to help, he was not going to talk about the past(Corzine). Mark McGwire states. “I’m not going to go into the past or talk about my past. I’m here to make a positive influence on this.” This is just proving that McGwire knows he is in the wrong and is trying to hide the fact that he used steroids. As McGwire admitted his use of not only Andro but also the muscle-builder creatine, he also insisted that “everybody I know in the game of baseball uses the same stuff I use.” Sammy Sosa admitted to using creatine. This shows that there has been steroid use in the game.

Barry Bonds has changed the game that we know and love today. Before Bonds there weren’t as many homeruns as there are today. Bonds spiked the interest of baseball by hitting the long ball. He had given people the interest to watch the games with all of the homeruns he had hit. Nowadays in the game it is hit a homerun or strikeout. Before Bonds everyone was worried about the base hit or to get on base. When Bonds had his amazing season he had all of these homeruns and people loved to watch it. In many of the young audiences you have to hit a homerun to be good at the game, this isn’t the case but because the people he is watching on tv are always hitting them they think that is what you need to do. After Bond’s massive season he was known as one of the best players to ever play the game.

Another reason why Bonds had changed the game is with the aspect of him cheating and using steroids to propel his stats and to make him a better player. Going back to the young audience, when kids found out that their idol of a player had used PEDs and cheated to get good at the game it made them want to do the same. Some studies tenuously suggested increased steroid use in that demographic. “Kids are dying from the use of steroids. They’re looking up to these major league leaders in terms of the enhancements that they’re using. And we have to stop it,” exclaimed Waxman on Meet the Press. They ended up stopping it. All of the players that were accused of using steroids in the MLB were never inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, even though they were deserving of the honor.

This is why Barry Bonds was one of the most impactful baseball players in the history of the MLB. He was a great player that should have easily been abducted into the Hall of Fame. He was never involved in the steroid era, he was never proved guilty. He changed the game that we know and love. Do you think Bonds should be inducted into the Hall of Fame?

Works Cited

  1. “Bonds, Barry Lamar.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, Jan. 2018, p. 1; EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=funk&AN=bo133950&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  2. “Barry Bonds Stats.” Baseball,
  3. “7Th Inning Stretch.” Baseball Digest, vol. 75, no. 3, May 2016, pp. 58–60. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=f6h&AN=114676332&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  4. By The Associated Press -. “A Timeline in the Career of Barry Bonds.” AP Regional State Report – California, Associated Press DBA Press Association, 23 Apr. 2015. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=n5h&AN=AP682d43dfeb5d4f8c9c854c578947702a&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  5. Nathan Michael Corzine. Team Chemistry : The History of Drugs and Alcohol in Major League Baseball. University of Illinois Press, 2016. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=nlebk&AN=1163510&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  6. Junger, James, and Patrick Garcia. “Juicing with Friends: Compliance Lessons from Baseball’s Steroid Era: One Bad Apple Can Spoil the Bunch.” Journal of Health Care Compliance, vol. 21, no. 6, Nov. 2019, pp. 47–56. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=bth&AN=140949499&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  7. Stephanie Sammartino McPherson. Doping in Sports : Winning at Any Cost? Twenty-First Century Books ™, 2016. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=nlebk&AN=1162803&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  8. Auerbach, Michael. “Steroids in Baseball.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2019. EBSCOhost,,geo,url,ip&geocustid=s8475741&db=ers&AN=89139037&site=eds-live&scope=site.

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