Regardless of how he did it, Barry Bonds is Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader, with 762 career home runs. That is a feat that should be celebrated, but fans’ opinions of Bonds is mixed, with a lot of people who didn’t like him during his playing career.
That is largely because people often viewed him as being a cheater because of his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs. He also wasn’t the most genial person when dealing with the media, which didn’t help his public perception. But Bonds wasn’t always a bad guy. There was one time, for instance, that he helped save a failing company.
All-time home run leader
Bonds played 22 seasons with the Pirates and the Giants, and in that time he became one of the most prolific hitters in MLB history. Everyone knows about his power numbers, but he was about more than just hitting home runs.
Bonds was a .298 hitter who recorded 1,996 RBI in his career. Perhaps his most surprising stat is his 514 steals, including having a 52-steal season in 1990. He also famously drew a lot of walks, especially late in his career. His 2,558 walks are the all-time record in the majors, as are his 688 intentional walks.
Barry Bonds’ shady reputation
Bonds was a client of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), which was raided by federal authorities in 2003. During a search of the home of Bonds’ personal trainer, investigators seized documents that showed Bonds used banned drugs.
Bonds testified for a grand jury and admitted to using “cream” and “clear” substances, but he said he thought they were nutritional supplements. In 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Bonds was one of several MLB players who received steroids from BALCO.
Bonds, in 2007, was eventually indicted by a federal grand jury for multiple counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, as he was accused of lying when he testified that he did not knowingly take steroids that were given to him by his trainer. In 2011, Bonds’ lawyer said the former slugger admitted to using steroids while playing, according to Fox Sports.
Barry Bonds saves a bat company
Regardless of what you think of bonds, you have to give him credit for the time he helped save a company, in a story relayed by the New York Times. Bonds used some of the most expensive baseball bats available, costing about $500 each.
When he discovered that his supplier was up for sale, he was worried about the future of the bats he liked to use. So he went to Sam Holman, the founder of Sam Bats, and asked how much money he would need to give Holman to guarantee that Bonds his get his full complement of bats for the 2007 season, which would end up being Bonds’ last in the majors.
Holman recalls that Bonds said he wanted to make sure that he could get his bats, and he didn’t care if he paid for everyone else’s bats as well — he just wanted to make sure he would get his.
So Bonds gave Holman a check for $40,000, to make sure that Sam Bats would still be around in 2007 to ensure that Bonds would continue to be able to use his favorite bats. Bonds’ money helped solidify the company’s uncertain future, and he got the bats that he wanted.
Whenever Bonds needed new bats, he would contact Holman directly, there were no middlemen involved in the transactions. But Bonds could also be difficult to deal with, as he would complain to Holman when he felt the bats weren’t up to par.
-All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference