“The good that men do is oft interred with their bones, but the evil that men do lives on forever!”
Controversially popular for the steroid allegations made against him towards the twilight of his career, Barry Bonds’ magnificent career on the ballpark has been slightly overshadowed by his antics. Regardless, there is no doubting the supreme talents of a man, who convincingly put to bed, a 31-year-old record for the highest number of home runs in baseball history.
Born on 24 July 1964, Barry was the son of Bobby Bonds – a former ballplayer and legend of the game. The distant cousin of Reggie Jackson – a baseball great, and the godson of Willie Mays – the legendary slugger, Barry was born a legend in the making. The boy from Riverside, California went on to win numerous Golden Gloves and MVPs, but his most notable achievement in the sport remains his transcend of Hank Aaron’s 755 home runs – a record which stood for nearly thirty one years, making Bonds the undisputed king of the homer.
A Career for the History Books
Bonds’ MLB career began with Pittsburgh Pirates, and after seven years with the club, from 1986 to 1993, he found himself joining forces with the Giants of San Francisco. His dynamic hitting skills took the sport by storm during his tenure with the Giants. Records appeared to be available for the breaking, and in 2001, he made a strong statement by surpassing Mark McGwire’s record of scoring more than 70 homers in a single season.
The Peak of Bonds’ Career
The sport was set on its ears following Bonds’ 73 homers during the 2001 season, and the finicky hitter proceeded to break many more records as he established his credentials in baseball history. With 177 walks, Bonds holds the MLB record in that department as well. His slugging percentage of .863 is, simply put, incomparably exceptional! The 146 runs that he scored in the 2001 season saw him finish atop the leaderboard, but the memory from that particular season that will remain with Bonds forever is his short, yet powerful swing, which led to his 500th homer.
The 2002 season began with Bonds on 567 homers. He has also stolen 484 career bases at the time, making him the only player in history to have both 400 stolen bases and 400 homers. He went on to score more runs and steal more bases, thus carving out his own unique 500-500 niche. Following his father’s loss to lung cancer in 2003, Barry showed nerves of steel as he scored 45 homers, and won the MVP award that season. Unfortunately, accusations of drug use for performance enhancement marred his success that year. The allegations seemed to make no difference to the man as he silenced critics with another 45-home-run season and won the MVP title.
The Twilight of a Legendary Career
An injury to the knee kept Bonds on the sidelines for much of the 2005 season, and his comeback was characterized by a dip in performances. He remained one of the best players in the league, but was no more the same Barry Bonds the world had grown used to, scoring just 26 homers in 2006. However, he surpassed Hank Aarons record of 755 homers in 2007 and left the game with his head held high.
During his glorious career, Bonds notched up seven MVP awards and eight Golden Gloves, and left his mark on MLB history, with an all-time record of 768 home runs.