|GAVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION.|
|BONDS IS SMILING? ''SURLY'' YOU JEST.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- A jealous preoccupation with the attention #92 Mark McGwire and #79 Sammy Sosa generated during The Great Home Run Chase of 1998 dragged Barry Bonds into their PED cesspool. Like the rest, Bonds wouldn't come out clean despite emerging with all of the accolades. In '99, at age 34 and already one of the game's and generation's best all-around players, he began using steroids and human growth hormone to reestablish his dominance. While the super-sized numbers didn't start arriving until '00 because of a triceps injury, Bonds' tear through the record book was staggering. The only seven-time MVP established the single-season homer record of 73 in '01 and the all-time mark of 762. He also drew a record 2,558 walks, 688 intentional, another record.
- According to Jeff Pearlman's book, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero, Bonds' frustration boiled over on Aug. 23, 1998. Against the Marlins, he hit his 26th homer, the 400th of his career, becoming the first to reach the 400/400 club. Yet, the accomplishment barely merited mention. All eyes were on McGwire and Sosa chasing Roger Maris' single-season home run record, and that stung Bonds; he considered both inferior. Bonds decided to begin a doping regiment in the off-season.
- Of course hitting 73 homers and slugging a record .863 in '01 boggle the mind, but I'm going with his '04 season when he clobbered only 45 but established the major-league record for on-base percentage with a .609 mark, eclipsing Ted Williams' record by 56 points. Bonds walked a major-league record 232 times that season and led the league with a .362 average. He still managed to drive in 101 runs.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- In Pearlman's book, a player said when Bonds arrived for spring training in '99, it was apparent he was roided up, from the acne-covered back to the general puffy appearance to the extra-large jaw and forehead.
- Became ensnared in the BALCO steroid scandal in '07, but in the end, he was only convicted on an obstruction of justice charge.
- You certainly can argue Bonds should have eight MVPs: His '91 season when he hit 25 homers with 116 RBI and 43 steals topped #101 Terry Pendleton's 22/86/10 numbers.
- Bonds is the only player to hit 500-plus homers and steal 500-plus (514) bases.
- With 75 percent needed for induction, Bonds' Hall of Fame quest slipped in his second year on the ballot, from 36.2 percent to 34.7.