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Bonds, Barry

Barry Bonds

1964—

Professional baseball player

On August 7, 2007, outfielder Barry Bonds became professional baseball's greatest home run hitter of all time, yet he is often slighted as one of the game's great heroes. Bonds holds the game's two great power records: he topped Hank Aaron's lifetime home run record midway through the 2007 season with his 756th blast, and he set the single-season home run record with 73 in 2001. Bonds is more than a slugger, of course; he's a seven-time Most Valuable Player and the only baseball player to have won the MVP award for his league more than three times. Bonds won all his MVP honors in the National League, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. Despite these accolades, controversy dogged Bonds as he approached Aaron's record, thanks to an ongoing scandal in which a federal grand jury indicted his longtime trainer for providing steroids to pro athletes. Many baseball purists allege that Bond's slugging prowess is the result of steroid use and that any of his records should be marked with the dreaded asterisk to call into question the legitimacy of his feats.

Bonds, the son of former major leaguer Bobby Bonds, has been around the big leagues most of his life. He approaches baseball as a job—with its own pitfalls and pleasures—and does little to enhance his personal image. He has been called uncooperative, arrogant, and selfish. He has quarreled openly with teammates, managers, and especially reporters who try to corner him for interviews. His image, particularly after steroid use made big headlines in 2005, has suffered to such an extent that he has become a favorite target for fan abuse on the road—and an occasional target of scolding from fellow players. Nothing has swayed Bonds to become more tolerant or easygoing. He points to his offensive numbers, eight Gold Glove awards for fielding, and MVP honors, saying they speak for themselves. "I'm not a media person," he told the San Francisco Examiner. "I don't like to answer the same questions. I just like to play baseball. I'm not into the other stuff. I turn down a lot of interviews. It's the United States of America. I have freedom of choice. It's two different jobs—keeping the media happy, and keeping yourself and your family happy. It's too much for one man."

If Bonds is unpopular elsewhere, he is popular in San Francisco. Since joining the Giants in 1993, he has helped turn the ballclub around. In 2002, the Giants made their first World Series appearance since 1990, losing to the Anaheim Angels in seven games. Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent Sam Carchidi wrote that Bonds has helped to energize a franchise that nearly moved out of town.

Destined for the Big Leagues

You might say that Barry Lamar Bonds inherited a family business. Born on July 24, 1964, in Riverside, California, he is the oldest son of baseball star Bobby Bonds and the godson of Hall of Famer Willie Mays. While other boys his age watched longingly from the bleachers, he used to shag fly balls in the Candlestick Park outfield with his dad and Mays. "I was too young to bat with them," Bonds told Sports Illustrated, "but I could compete with them in the field."

Bonds's father joined the Giants in 1968 and played there until 1974. Early in his career, Bobby Bonds was heralded as the successor to Willie Mays, especially since the two men were such good friends. Unfortunately, Bobby could never live up to expectations from fans and media. Even though he hit 30 home runs and stole 30 bases the same season five times, his performance never satisfied the critics. His other teams included the New York Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Cleveland Indians.

In the San Francisco Examiner, Larry Stone wrote: "The Bonds' … know what it's like to never do quite enough to satisfy the fans and the media. Bobby was supposed to be the next Willie Mays. Barry was supposed to be the next Bobby Bonds.With both, the story line was always potential, and how it wasn't being fulfilled." Barry Bonds seemed to echo these sentiments when asked about his father by Sports Illustrated. "No one gives my dad credit for what he did, and they want to put me in the same category," he said. "He did 30-30 five times, and they say he never became the ballplayer he should have become. Ain't nobody else done 30-30 five times. Nobody. Zero. So I don't care whether they like me or they don't like me. I don't care."

The elder Bonds was an all-out competitor who liked to push his children to excel. Before he even attended school, young Barry could hit a Wiffle ball so hard it could break glass. He took to baseball naturally and learned from his father as well as his high school and college coaches. As a student at Serra High School in San Mateo, California, he played baseball, basketball, and football. When he graduated in 1982, he was offered a contract with his father's former team, the San Francisco Giants. The money was significant—$75,000—but Bonds asked for more. The offer was withdrawn, and Bonds went to college instead.

At Arizona State University, Bonds played baseball for coach Jim Brock. The young outfielder's talent was evident from the outset, and by his junior year he had been named to the All-Pac 10 team three consecutive years. He hit 23 home runs as a junior and compiled a career .347 average, and he was chosen for the Sporting News All-American Team in 1985. Brock recalled his years coaching Bonds in Sports Illustrated: "I liked the hell out of Barry Bonds. Unfortunately, I never saw a teammate care about him. Part of it would be his being rude, inconsiderate and self-centered. He bragged about the money he turned down, and he popped off about his dad. I don't think he ever figured out what to do to get people to like him."

At a Glance …

Born Barry Lamar Bonds on July 24, 1964, in Riverside, CA; son of Bobby (a professional baseball player and coach) and Patricia (Howard) Bonds; married Sun (divorced); married Liz; children: (with Sun) Nikolai, Shikari, (with Liz) Aisha Lynn. Education: Attended Arizona State University, 1982-85.

Career : Professional baseball player, 1985-. Pittsburgh Pirates, outfielder, 1986-92; San Francisco Giants, outfielder, 1993-.

Awards : Named National League Most Valuable Player, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004; Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998; Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Award, 1993; Silver Slugger Award, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004; AP Male Athlete of the Year, 2001; Hank Aaron Award, 2001, 2002, 2004.

Addresses: Office—c/o San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Drafted by the Pirates

Bonds was drafted again in 1985 when the Pittsburgh Pirates made him the sixth pick in the first round. Bonds was sent to the minor leagues, where he played for the Prince William (Virginia) Pirates of the Carolina League. There he batted .299, hit 13 home runs, and was named league player of the month for July. The following season found him in Hawaii, where he batted .311 in just 44 games before being called up to Pittsburgh. All told, Bonds spent less than two years in the minor leagues. He was just 21 when he became a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Bonds quickly became the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Pirates. On his second day with the team he smacked a double, and less than a week later he had his first home run. By year's end he led the National League rookies in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and walks. The Pittsburgh front office rejoiced—it was hoped that Bonds could help the team back into playoff contention.

In 1987 Bonds was switched to left field and moved to fifth in the batting order because he could hit to all fields. His batting average shot to .261, he hit 25 home runs, and he stole 32 bases. The following year a knee injury kept his stolen base total down but did nothing to his average (.283) or home run total (24).

Bonds came into his own in 1990, the year he won his first National League Most Valuable Player award. He hit 32 home runs and stole 52 bases—prompting further comparisons with his father—and he led the National League in slugging percentage with .565. Largely due to Bonds, the Pirates finished first in the National League East, though the Cincinnati Reds defeated them in the National League Championship Series.

Personality Alienated Allies

In 1990 Pirate manager Jim Leyland told Sports Illustrated: "Barry's at the point in his career where he should be. If he handles himself the way he is capable of, he's going to be a consistent star for years." The "if" in Leyland's comment was important. Leyland recognized Bonds's talent but also found the young star temperamental and insensitive toward teammates. After he won the MVP award, Bonds asked for salary arbitration. He wanted a bigger raise than the Pirates were willing to give him. He lost.

Matters took a turn for the worse after the Pirates lost the 1990 NLCS. Bonds joined a group of other star players for a goodwill tour of Japan. Associated Press reporter Alan Robinson claimed that Bonds quit early in an exhibition game and then insulted his Japanese hosts by tossing aside a token gift during a post-game ceremony. Trouble followed Bonds back to the United States. During 1991 spring training in Florida, he engaged in a heated swearing match with Leyland and Pirates coach Bill Virdon after he refused to pose for photographs.

Bonds and Leyland reconciled, and once again the team advanced to the league championship series—this time losing to the Atlanta Braves—and Bonds hit .292 for the 1991 season. Bonds narrowly missed being voted League MVP again, finishing second to Atlanta's Terry Pendleton. In 1992 Bonds captured his second MVP award and a .311, 34-home run year, though the Pirates missed the World Series yet again in an NLCS rematch with the Braves, when Atlanta rallied for three runs in the ninth inning.

Joined Father with the Giants

It is especially rare for a team to trade a Most Valuable Player. Almost any club will try every avenue to keep such a star happy. The Pirates made little effort to court Bonds when he became a free agent at the end of the 1992 season. It was essentially a foregone conclusion that Bonds would leave the team, and everyone acted accordingly. For some time in the fall of 1992 it looked as though Bonds would sign with the New York Yankees. Then, in December, he received a more tempting offer.

The San Francisco Giants had narrowly escaped being sold and sent to St. Petersburg, Florida. New ownership surfaced in San Francisco, one that wanted to make a fifth-place team a serious contender. The new owner/president, Peter Magowan, eyed Bonds as the most desirable free agent on the marketplace. Magowan offered Bonds a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in baseball. Then the president sweetened the deal by adding Bonds's father, Bobby, as a Giants hitting coach. Recognizing Barry's solitary personality, Magowan even offered the star private hotel suite accommodations on the road. Bonds's average salary for one year of the six-year deal came to more money than his father and godfather earned in their entire careers.

Together, Bobby and Barry Bonds hold the major league record for home runs from fathers and sons. Until the elder Bonds died in August of 2003, they worked side-by-side on the Giants, and were closer than ever. If anyone understood Barry's unwillingness to talk to reporters and sign autographs, it was Bobby. "For them to say my son is moody is not right," the elder Bonds once told the San Francisco Examiner. "How many days have they spent with my son? How many nights? They've met him for a couple of minutes, and because he might be busy that day, or they don't know his business-like attitude at the ballpark, they say, ‘My god, he's got an attitude.’ And that's wrong."

Fans and critics were not the only people that Bonds was having difficulties with in the early 1990s. In the summer of 1994, Bonds filed for divorce from his wife, Sun, and requested joint physical and legal custody of his children. After the divorce was final in 1995, Bonds vowed to the media as well as to his teammates that he had resolved to improve both his personal and professional lives. He began a rigorous off-season workout program and began to try to curb his famous "bad" attitude toward teammates and fans. He wanted to change the impressions of people who thought he was a bad person, for according to Bonds, "I feel the press puts a stamp on certain players and once they stamp you as a ‘bad person’ then that's what they feed on and there's nothing you can do about it. I know in my heart the type of ballplayer I am and the type of person I am." This transformation by Bonds would not be easily accepted, especially by the fans, who wanted not only a nicer Barry Bonds, but a better baseball playing Barry Bonds. Defending his demeanor on and off the field, Bonds asked Sports Illustrated interviewer Richard Hoffer: "Why can't people just enjoy the show? And then let the entertainer go home and get his rest, so he can put on another show?"

Soared to Greatness

Over the next few years, Bonds made sure to live up to his title as an entertainer, continuing to improve his game and his statistics to become one of the best players of the 1990s. In 1996 he become one of only four players to ever hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases, sharing the honor with such greats as Willie Mays and Andre Dawson. The following year, he led the Giants to a National League West Division title, but San Francisco lost to the eventual World Series champion Florida Marlins in the National League playoffs. Bonds, though, continued to rise in prominence. By the end of the 1990s, Sport magazine named him Player of the Decade and he was starting to turn his image around.

Bonds, meanwhile, was restructuring his personal life. In 1998 he married girlfriend Liz Watson and in 1999 he became a father for the third time with the birth of his daughter, Aisha Lynn. The following year, he began to step up his on-field play, becoming the first player to ever hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases. By the end of the decade, Barry Bonds had won three MVPs and eight Golden Glove Awards.

By the middle of the 2001 season, Bonds had already hit forty-five home runs and was on pace to make a run at Mark McGuire's record of 71 home runs set back in 1998. He was also chasing after Mickey Mantle's walk record as well as the all-time MVP record. The chase for the records would last all season, coming down to the last three games of the Giants' regular season.

On September 27, 2001, Bonds lost good friend and sometimes bodyguard Franklin Bradley and many were worried that this would hamper his play. Bonds proved to everyone, including himself, that nothing was going to stop him from slugging his way into the record books. On October 5, 2001, his first day back from leave, Bonds hit home run number 70, which he dedicated to Bradley. The next day, he would bat his way into history as he hit home runs 71 and 72. Bonds finished the 2001 season with an amazing 73 home runs, 177 walks, 137 runs batted in, and an outstanding average of .328.

Bonds broke every record he had been chasing all season, including the coveted MVP award. The Giants re-signed Bonds to a five-year, $90-million contract, ensuring them a powerful clean-up hitter for years to come. He signed with a team of agents to win endorsements, including having his face on the Wheaties box and being named a spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken. As the 2002 season began, many fans and players worried that Bonds could not match the feats of the previous season. Those fears seem to be unfounded however, for Bonds began the season with five home runs in six games and maintained a .375 average. He also surpassed Mark McGwire in career home runs when he batted his 576th home run in May of 2002. It was also his 400th home run with the Giants. In a Sports Illustrated interview Bonds said, "I'm shocked, as shocked as anybody." Barry Bonds had developed from a rough and tumble outfielder and outsider to one of the greatest players baseball has ever seen, on and off the field. Reggie Jackson said of Bonds during the awarding of the MVP award, "Bonds's burgeoning legacy is almost palpable in the air. Babe Ruth. Ted Williams. Henry Aaron. Sooner or later they'll have to end that list with Barry Bonds."

Bonds played in his lone World Series in 2002. The Anaheim Angels, intent on not letting Bonds beat them, walked the slugger 13 times in a seven-game series. Bonds did homer four times and had eight hits in 17 at-bats for a .471 average but the Giants, on the cusp of their first World Series title since 1954, blew a 5-0 lead late in the sixth game and dropped the seventh game as well. Anaheim came away with the championship.

Pursued the Ultimate Record

Bonds captured his sixth and seventh MVP awards in 2003 and 2004, respectively, but endured injuries and controversy the following year. After the 2004 season, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. In December of that year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Bonds testified to a Bay Area grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by his trainer, Greg Anderson, who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring. Bonds insister, however, that he did not know they were steroids. The controversy did not die there, however, as a federal grand jury was convened to investigate amid widespread suspicion that professional baseball was permeated by steroid abuse. Anderson and Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) that allegedly supplied the steroids, received prison sentences of less than six months for their roles in providing athletes with undetectable banned substances. Anderson was imprisoned again in 2006 and 2007 after refusing to testify before the grand jury.

Despite the near-continuous controversy that followed the 2003 BALCO case—controversy that included U.S. Congressional hearings that featured ballplayers past and present admitting to or denying their own steroid abuse—Bonds kept right on slugging. In 2004, he smacked another 45 home runs. In 2005, after having three operations on his right knee, Bonds played in 14 games for the Giants near the end of the season. He homered five times and batted .286. By the end of the season, he had 708 regular-season homers and trailed Aaron by 47 on the all-time list. On May 28, 2006, Bonds hit his 715th home run, off Byung-Hyun Kim of the Colorado Rockies. With this blast he passed pass Babe Ruth and reach second place behind Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list.

Pursued by Scandal

As the 2007 season opened, all of baseball awaited the day when Bonds would break Hank Aaron's record. Bonds's pursuit of the record was sporadic, with a flurry of towering home runs followed by several days of rest for his aching legs. News stations across the country kept the nation posted on every homer Bonds hit, and sports radio and TV programs buzzed with speculation as to when Bonds would hit the record, whether baseball commissioner Bud Selig would even recognize the achievement by attending games as the time drew near, and whether an asterisk should be placed next to Bonds's name in the record books.

Meanwhile, lawyers continued their pursuit of the slugger. In July of 2006 a federal grand jury had declined to indict Bonds on tax evasion and perjury charges related to his alleged steroid use, but prosecutors were not yet through. On July 21, 2007, the grand jury investigating Bonds's alleged steroid use was extended, and the U.S. Attorney's office claimed that it would soon have enough evidence to indict baseball's greatest slugger, perhaps as early as September. Bonds and his lawyers dismissed the extension, with lawyer Michael Rains calling it a "perjury trap."

On August 7, 2007, Bonds's chase came to a close. After tying Aaron's record two days before with a blast against the San Diego Padres, Bonds faced Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik with one out in the fifth inning. Bonds pounded Bacsik's 84-mile-per-hour pitch deep to right field as San Francisco fans erupted in applause. Bonds jogged around the bases, soaking in the adulation, and greeted his son and his teammates at the plate. Though commissioner Selig wasn't at the game, former home run champ Hank Aaron appeared in a taped message played on the massive center field video display, lauding Bonds for an accomplishment which required "skill, longevity, and determination."

While Bonds's chase of the mark was over, the media's pursuit of Bonds continued. Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci summed up the opinions of many sportswriters when he claimed that "756 settled nothing. It invited interpretation more than it provided certainty, making for an awkward kind of history. Bonds still faces the possibility of a federal perjury indictment as well as repercussions from the Mitchell report," an ongoing investigation by former Senator George Mitchell. Bonds, as ever, resisted the attempts to diminish his performance, telling reporters after the big game, "This record is not tainted. At all. At all. Period. You guys can say whatever you want."

As Bonds and the Giants continued their season—Bonds had hit number 761 at the time of this writing—speculation resumed as to what would come next in Bonds's tumultuous career. Would the aging slugger announce his retirement, or would he continue, perhaps reaching the 3,000-hit milestone to add yet another argument for his induction into the Hall of Fame? Would a grand jury finally provide compelling evidence that Bonds's pursuit of the ultimate baseball record was tainted by steroids—or driven by Bonds's undeniable drive and physical talent? Though Bonds holds the home run record, the jury is not yet in on how he will be regarded by fans of America's pastime.

Sources

Books

Bernstein, Ross, Barry Bonds, LernerSports, 2004.

Bloom, John, Barry Bonds: A Biography, Greenwood Press, 2004.

Fainaru-Wada, Mark, Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports, Gotham Books, 2006.

Pearlman, Jeff, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero, HarperCollins, 2006.

Periodicals

Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1993, p. H6.

Dallas Morning News, November 27, 2001.

Jet, December 10, 1990; August 17, 1992; December 28, January 4, 1993; June 20, 1994; February 4, 2002.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1992.

New York Daily News, March 5, 1991.

Newsday (Long Island, NY), April 4, 1993.

Newsweek, May 31, 1993, p. 64; September 20, 1993, p. 53.

Philadelphia Daily News, February 25, 1993.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 28, 1993.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 5, 2002, p. B4.

San Francisco Examiner, October 8, 1990.

Sporting News, July 12, 1999, pp. 12-20; August 20, 2007, pp. 12-16.

Sports Illustrated, June 25, 1990; December 14, 1992, p. 9; April 26, 1993, pp. 19-21; May 24, 1993, pp. 13-21; October 11, 1993, p. 20; June 4, 2001, pp. 8-11; October 15, 2001, pp. 46-50; April 15, 2002, pp. 42-45; August 13, 2007, p. 44; August 20, 2007, p. 46.

Time, August 20, 2007, p. 20.

USA Today, June 19, 1991.

Washington Post, June 6, 1993, p. D1.

On-line

"Barry Bonds," Baseball-reference.com,www.baseballreference.com/b/bondsba01.shtml (July 23, 2007).

"Barry Bonds," ESPN.com,http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=3918 (July 23, 2007).

"BALCO Boss Conte to Serve Eight Months in Prison," USA Today, www.usatoday.com/sports/2005-10-18-balco-conte-sentencing_x.htm (August 31, 2007).

"Bonds Returns, Giants Win," Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/13/AR2005091300089.html (August 31, 2007).

"The Official Barry Bonds.com Site," www.barrybonds.com (August 31, 2007).

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Bonds, Barry

Barry Bonds

1964-

American baseball player

Professional baseball player Barry Bonds may be the sports world's most vivid study in contrasts. Revered for his practically unmatched athletic prowesshe appears poised to break Hank Aaron's record of 755 career home runshe is, at the same time, despised by many for his aloof, or even downright rude, behavior both onand off-field. He has been described by a former teammate as "the greatest player I have ever played with, or will ever play with" and by other commentators as a "prima donna," "a cancer" and a "spiritual drain" on his sport. Whether a hero or quite the opposite, one fact is for certain: Bonds has not only taken his sport to new levels of athletic achievement but he has raised the financial stakes for players of his caliber as well. The left-fielder was already one of the highest-paid players in

Major League Baseball (MLB), when he signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the San Francisco Giants in February 2002, tying Chicago Cubs powerhouse Sammy Sosa for the fourth-largest paycheck in baseball. In commanding such an increasingly large salary, Bonds has also become part of an ever-growing group of players who are overcoming the financial barriers that have historically been levied against minority baseball players. In 1997, Jet reported that Bonds and three other minority players commanded five of the highest salaries in the history of professional baseball.

Family Tree

Bonds came to baseball with an unparalleled pedigree. The oldest son of three-time Golden Glove winner and former San Francisco Giant Bobby Bonds and his wife, Pat, the younger Bonds began hanging around the Giants' locker room as a child. But he spent as much time out on the field, chasing fly balls with his father and godfather, the legendary Willie Mays . Another baseball great, Reggie Jackson , is a distant cousin, and Olympic sprinter Rosie Bonds is his aunt. Bonds has claimed that, even before kindergarten, he could hit a whiffle ball so hard it could break glass.

By the time he entered Serra Juniperro High School in San Mateo, California, Bonds was an all-around athlete, playing baseball, basketball and football. His big-league talent already evident, Bonds was offered a $75,000 contract when he graduated in 1982. Equally evident was Bonds' belief that baseball is first and fore-most a business, an ethos he would continue to espouse throughout his career. When the Giants turned down his request for more money, he opted to buy time playing college ball at Arizona State University where, by his junior year he had been named to the All-Pac 10 team three years running. In 1985, after hitting twenty-three home runs and compiling a .347 career average, he was named to the Sporting News All-American Team. But it was not just the seeds of Bonds' athletic ability that were beginning to show at ASU. Already, the standout was gaining a reputation as off-putting and self-absorbed. "I liked the hell out of Barry Bonds. Unfortunately, I never saw a teammate care about him," his former coach, Jim Brock, told Sports Illustrated. "Part of it would be his being rude, inconsiderate and self-centered. He bragged about the money he turned down, and he popped off about his dad. I don't think he ever figured out what to do to get people to like him."

Big League Numbers, Big League Attitude

In 1985, Bonds was offered a professional contract that suited him, and he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as the sixth pick in the first round. He spent his first season in the minor leagues, batting .299, hitting thirteen home runs and being named July's league player of the month for the Prince William (Virginia) Pirates in the Carolina League. After batting .311 in just forty-four games the following season, where he played in Hawaii, Bonds was called up to the majors at the age of twenty-one. Before long, he became the Pirates' starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter. He hit a double his second day with the team and nailed his first home run less than a week later. Bonds finished the season leading the National League's (NL) rookies in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and walks.

Bonds continued to shine the following year, when he was moved to left field and fifth in the batting order, finishing the season with a .261 batting average, twenty-five home runs and thirty-two stolen bases. The next year he battled a knee injury, but still raised his batting average to .283 and hit twenty-four home runs. He came back with a vengeance in 1990, earning the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) title during a season in which he hit thirty-three home runs, 114 runs batted in (RBI), and stole fifty-two bases. He was awarded the first of eight Gold Glove awards this year as well, and became the only player in the history of the major leagues to bat .300 (his average was .301), hit over 30 home runs, drive in 100 runs, score 100 runs (he scored 104) and steal 50 bases. These amazing feats helped the Pirates claim the National League East division championship that year. In 1991 Bonds batted .292 with twenty-five home runs and 116 RBIs. He finished second to the Atlanta Braves' Terry Pendleton for the league MVP award and the Pirates lost the league championship series to the Braves. Bonds boasted stellar numbers again in 1992 and was named league MVP for the second time, but his team again lost the league championship to the Braves.

The self-indulgent, sometimes downright disrespectful, demeanor Bonds had begun to exhibit at ASU only became more visible as Bonds recognized his overall importance to the Pirates organization. He asked for salary arbitration after winning his first MVP award, but was turned down. The following year, he engaged in a heated, and well-publicized altercation with coach Bill Virdon and Pirates manager Jim Leyland at spring training. It was also reported that, during a Goodwill tour of Japan, he quit an exhibition game early and insulted his hosts by tossing aside a token gift during a post-game ceremony.

Professional and Personal Moves

While with the Pirates, Bonds met and married his wife, Sun, a cosmetologist from Sweden. The pair eloped in Las Vegas in February 1988. Their sun Nikolai, now a batboy for the Giants, was born in 1990 and their daughter Shikari a year later.

Chronology

1964 Born July 24 in Riverside, California
1978 Enters Serra Juniperro High School where he plays baseball, basketball, and football
1982 Turns down $75,000 offer from San Francisco Giants and opts to play baseball for Arizona State University
1985 Chosen to Sporting News college All-Star team
1985 Drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates and plays in minor leagues
1986 Called up to major leagues
1988 Marries first wife
1990 Son Nikolai is born
1990 Wins first league Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and first of eight Gold Glove awards
1991 Daughter Shikari is born
1992 Wins second MVP award
1992 Becomes a free agent and signs with San Francisco Giants, commanding a salary making him the highest-paid baseball player in history
1993 Wins third MVP award
1994 Divorces wife
1996 Surpasses 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases
1998 Marries Elizabeth Watson
2000 Daughter Aisha is born
2001 Hits 73 home runs in the season, breaking Mark McGwire's record, and hits 500th career home run
2001 Awarded unprecedented fourth MVP award
2002 Hits 600th home run and leads Giants to the World Series
2002 Fifth MVP award

Bonds was gearing up for changes in his professional life as well. Despite his talent, the Pirates opted to let Bonds walk when he became a free agent at the end of the 1991-1992 season, and he was signed by his home-town team, the San Francisco Giants. Although he had once told Sport magazine, "I want to play for any California team except the Giants because it's cold and they need a new stadium," Bonds claimed he was thrilled to be playing for the same team as his father and godfather, and he wore his father's number, 25. "I will look just like my dad out in the field, with the same genes, same body, but left-handed in left field with Willie's sign on the fence. That's generation to generation. It's almost scary. It's fun, I love it. I have never been more excited to play in a city in my entire life than I am now, because I see the whole picture," he told Sport in 1993.

The deal the Giants offered Bonds likely struck the player as equally exciting. He would be the highest-paid player in baseball, his father would be hired on as a hitting coach and Bonds would have his own private hotel suite on the road. Bonds gave the Giants their money's worth, batting .336, hitting forty-six home runs and accumulating 123 RBIs in his first year with the team, earning him a third MVP title. The following year the Giants seemed poised for a World Series bid when an August players' strike forced cancellation of the remainder of the season. While Bonds performed expertly the following season, becoming only the sixth player in major league history to hit 250 home runs and steal 300 bases in his career, his team finished last in the National League West. The team fared no better in 1996, when Bonds joined his father, godfather and Andre Dawson as one of only four major league players to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases. The Giants' luck took a turn in 1997, the same year the team secured an $11.45 million contract with Bonds. Ironically, despite his powerhouse abilities, Bonds was not able to contribute to the team as much as he would have liked, as pitchers began to regularly walk him. This practice became so routine over the years, that Bonds' children have begun to hold up signs reading, "Please pitch to my Daddy, Number 25." Still, Bonds contributed largely to the pennant victory, batting .344 in the team's last eleven games.

Critical as he was to the Giants' success that year, Bonds in no way developed a reputation as a team playernot among teammates, fans or the media. The separate hotel suite was only the beginning, and Bonds has since acquired his own public relations representative, masseur and weight trainer, as well as a private enclave in the Giants clubhouse where he keeps a recliner and a large-screen

television which nobody else can see. He does not stretch with the team, eat with the team, or pose for team pictures, and rarely sticks around for interviews. "Barry does a lot of questionable things. But you get used to it," former teammate Jeff Kent told Sports Illustrated. "You just hope he shows up for the game and performs. I've learned not to worry about it or think about it or analyze it. I was raised to be a team guy, and I am, but Barry's Barry."

As for the fans, Bonds has said he appreciates their support but once, when criticized for failing to move on a fly ball, he remarked to The Sporting News, "I don't care what (the fans) think. They ain't out here. If you'rebetter than me, you can come out here and put my uniform on and do it." While Bonds has never tried to justify his attitude toward his teammates or fans, he did explain his testy relationship with the media to Sport. "It's sickening for you to throw stones at me and then want to take them back," he told a reporter. "I do it every year, that's what (motivates) me my whole year, for you to slap me across the face and then have to come back at the end of the year and kiss me and say, 'I'm sorry.'"

Awards and Accomplishments

1985 College All-Star team
1990 Named Baseball Writers' Association of America league MVP
1990 Named Sporting News National League and Major League Player of the Year
1990, 1992-98, 2000-01 All-Star Team
1990-94, 1996-98 Golden Glove Award
1990-94, 1996-97, 2000-02 Silver Slugger Award
1991 Sporting News National League Player of the Year
1992-93, 2001-02 Named Baseball Writers' Association of America league MVP
2001 Set MLB home run single season record with 73

Bonds has received negative publicity for his personal affairs as well. After he and Sun divorced in 1994, she sued him for half of his baseball earnings, despite having signed a prenuptial agreement. The case dragged on for years and was eventually settled in Bonds' favor by the California Supreme Court. In 1998, Bonds was married again, to Elizabeth Watson, and two years later the pair had a daughter, Aisha.

Still, Bonds continues to lead his team and break records on a regular basis. While berated by fans and the media for a lackluster performance in a wild card playoff bid in 1998 and hampered by an elbow injury in 1999, when the team missed the playoffs altogether, he maintained his enviable batting average. The team's poor overall performance underscored just how much they relied on Bonds, who returned to the team early following surgery in an effort to help salvage the season. The team made it to the playoffs the following year, but were eliminated early by the New York Mets.

The Giants failed to make the playoffs in 2001, but Bonds had a watershed season. That year, he hit seventy-three home runs, breaking Mark McGwire 's season record of seventy and also hit his 500th career home run, arousing speculation that he will break Hank Aaron 's all-time record of 755. For his efforts, Bonds became the first player in major league history to be named MVP four times and he was also voted Player of the Year for the second time by his peers. He also began to break down the wall between himself and the fans, tearfully thanking them for their support in a post-game ceremony after his record-breaking seventy-first home run. Still, Bonds' reputation preceded him. When he became a free agent at the end of the season, not a single team expressed interest.

In 2002, with a .370 average, Bonds became the Giants' first batting champion since Willie Mays in 1954. On August 9, he hit his 600th home runa feat realized by only Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth before him and, in the postseason he finally realized his dream of playing in a World Series. The Giants eventually lost to the Anaheim Angels in a seven-game series. Still, Bonds was named league MVP for an astounding fifth time. While besting Hank Aaron's home run record would be a phenomenal achievement, Bonds indicated mid-season that the days left to reach that goal are numbered. "At the end of this contract, I'll be 42 and my kids will be in high school," he told Ebony. "It doesn't matter how close I am to Hank's record, when this contract ends, it's over! You get me for four more years, and after that, this old guy is going home."

Career Statistics

Yr Team Avg GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB E
PIT: Pittsburgh Pirates; SF: San Francisco Giants.
1986 PIT .223 113 413 72 92 16 48 65 102 36 5
1987 PIT .261 150 551 99 144 25 59 54 88 32 5
1988 PIT .283 144 538 97 152 24 58 72 82 17 6
1989 PIT .248 159 580 96 144 19 58 93 93 32 6
1990 PIT .301 151 519 104 156 33 114 93 83 52 6
1991 PIT .292 153 510 95 149 25 116 107 73 43 3
1992 PIT .311 140 473 109 147 34 103 127 69 39 3
1993 SF .336 159 539 129 181 46 123 126 79 29 5
1994 SF .312 112 391 89 122 37 81 74 43 29 3
1995 SF .294 144 506 109 149 33 104 120 83 31 6
1996 SF .308 158 517 122 159 42 129 151 76 40 6
1997 SF .291 159 532 123 155 40 101 145 87 37 5
1998 SF .303 156 552 120 167 37 122 130 92 28 5
1999 SF .262 102 355 91 93 34 83 73 62 15 3
2000 SF .306 143 480 129 147 49 106 117 77 11 3
2001 SF .328 153 476 129 156 73 137 177 93 13 6
2002 SF .370 143 403 117 149 46 110 198 47 9 8
TOTAL .295 2439 8335 1830 2462 613 1652 1922 1329 493 84

CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: c/o San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Point, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107-2199.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Books

Sports Stars Series 1-4, UXL, 1994-98.

Periodicals

Elliot, Josh. "Would You Believe 80?." Sports Illustrated (April 15, 2002): 42.

Grann, David. "Baseball Without Metaphor." New York Times Magazine (September 1, 2002): 36.

"King of Swing: Barry Bonds Aims at Baseball's Home Run Record, and at His Old Reputation As a Hard Man to Warm Up To." People (July 9, 2001): 63.

Leavy, Walter. "Death Threats, Hate Mail and Personal Losses: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Barry Bonds' Record-Breaking Home Run Chase." Ebony (July 2002): 116+.

Lupica, Mike. "A Tragedy of Errors." Sporting News (June 19, 1995): 7.

Mariotti, Jay. "The Rebirth of Barry Bonds." Sporting News (June 4, 2001): 8.

Reilly, Rick. "He Loves Himself Barry Much." Sports Illustrated (August 27, 2001): 102.

Schulman, Henry. "Bonds Takes a High-Five for NL MVP." San Francisco Chronicle (November 12, 2002): C1.

Verducci, Tom. "600 and Counting." Sports Illustrated (August 19, 2002): 42.

Weinstock, Jeff. "Barry Bonds (Q&A)." Sport (April, 1993): 60.

Sketch by Kristin Palm

Related Biography: Baseball Player Bobby Bonds

Bobby Bonds secured himself a spot in the annals of baseball history early in his career. In only his second year in the major leagues, as a San Francisco Giant, he became the first player in league history to hit thirty home runs and steal thirty bases in a single season. Over a fourteen-year career, Bonds achieved this feat four more times, a still-standing record.

Bonds honed his skills at Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California, where he also excelled on the football team. He was not the only athlete in the family; his brother, Robert, was a 13th-round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs and his sister, Rosie, was a world-class hurdler who earned a place on the 1964 Olympic track team. Bobby was signed by the Giants in 1965 and was promoted to the majors in 1968. In his first major-league game, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit a grand slam home run, becoming the first major leaguer to do so in his first game since the Phillies' Bill Dugglesby in 1898.

Bonds became the Giants' leadoff hitter and he did not disappoint. During his first full season in 1969 he hit thirty-two home runs, stole forty-five bases, drove in ninety runs and scored 120 runs, leading the National League. Bonds was named to the All-Star Team twice when he was with the Giants, in 1971 and 1973. In 1973 he also led the National League with 131 runs and thirty-nine homers. He was traded to the New York Yankees after the 1974 season and he again made the All-Star Team in 1975. Following that season, he was traded to the California Angels. An injured finger hindered his 1976 season, but the following year he hit thirty-seven home runs, had 115 RBIs, 103 runs and forty-one stolen bases. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox prior to his becoming a free agent in 1978.

Bonds was traded to the Texas Rangers mid-season and his last few years as a player were marked by numerous subsequent trades and an alcohol problem. He played for the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs before retiring in 1981. He returned to Cleveland as a first-base coach and hitting instructor from 1984-1987 and in 1989 acted as player-manager to the St. Lucie Legends of Florida's short-lived Senior League. He returned to San Francisco in 1993, signing on as a hitting coach as part of son Barry's lucrative deal with the team. Father and son had a shot at sharing a World Series victory in 2002, but, after a promising start, the Giants lost the seven-game series to the Anaheim Angels.

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Palm, Kristin. "Bonds, Barry." Notable Sports Figures. 2004. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3407900067.html

Bonds, Barry 1964–

Barry Bonds 1964

Professional baseball player

At a Glance

Second-Generation Ballplayer

Drafted by the Pirates

Became Baseballs Highest Paid Player

Changed Gears

Made the History Books

Sources

Superstar leftfielder Barry Bonds is one of only a handful of players who have been named National League Most Valuable Player more than once. On December 10, 2001, he became the only player in that handful to win the Most Valuable Player award four times. When Bonds won the MVP honors in 1990 and 1992 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the special recognition helped himas a free agent in 1993to land a record-breaking six-year, $43.75 million contract to play for the San Francisco Giants. That same year, he was named MVP for the third time in his career. The fourth time he was honored with the MVP, he was coming off of the biggest record setting season in his career, hitting 73 homeruns, walking 177 times, and earning 137 runs for the San Francisco Giants. The son of a professional baseball player Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds has been around the big leagues most of his life. He therefore approaches baseball as a jobwith its own pitfalls and pleasuresand does little to enhance his personal image.

Bonds has been called uncooperative, arrogant, and selfish. He has quarreled openly with teammates, managers, and especially reporters who try to corner him for interviews. His image has suffered to such an extent that he has become a favorite target for fan abuse on the roadand an occasional target of scolding from fellow players. Nothing has swayed Bonds to become more tolerant or easygoing. He points to his awesome offensive numbers, his three Gold Glove awards for fielding, and his MVP honors, and says they speak for themselves. Im not a media person, he told the San Francisco Examiner. I dont like to answer the same questions. I just like to play baseball. Im not into the other stuff. I turn down a lot of interviews. Its the United States of America. I have freedom of choice. Its two different jobskeeping the media happy, and keeping yourself and your family happy. Its too much for one man.

If Bonds is unpopular elsewhere, he is nothing less than a hero in Candlestick Park, home of the Giants. Since joining San Francisco in 1993, he has proven himself a major catalyst for improving the teams fortunes. Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent Sam Carchidi noted that since Bonds moved to San Francisco, the team has made major strides, mainly because of him. Bonds is part of a metamorphosis in San Francisco. Indeed, Bonds has helped to energize a franchise that has not seen playoff action in years and has attracted

At a Glance

Born Barry Lamar Bonds, July 24, 1964, in Riverside, CA; son of Bobby (a professional baseball player and coach) and Patricia (Howard) Bonds; Married Sun(divorced); married Liz; children: (with Sun) Nikolai, Shikari, (with Liz) Aisha Lynn. Education: Attended Arizona State University, 1982-85.

Career: Professional baseball player, 1985-. Pittsburgh Pirates, outfielder, 1986-92; San Francisco Giants, 1993-.

Awards: Named National League Most Valuable Player, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001; Rawlings Cold Glove Awards, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998; Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Award, 1993; AP Male Athelete of the Year, 2001; Silver Slugger Award, 2000 and 2001; Hank Aaron Award, 2001 hit career 576th home run, May 2002; moved to fifth place on all-time career home run list, 2002.

Address: Officedo San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 94124.

new hometown fans at a time when the club needed it most.

Second-Generation Ballplayer

You might say that Barry Lamar Bonds inherited a family business. He is the oldest son of baseball star Bobby Bonds and the godson of superstar Willie Mays. While other boys his age watched longingly from the bleachers, he used to shag fly balls in the Candlestick Park outfield with his dad and Mays. I was too young to bat with them, Bonds told Sports Illustrated, but I could compete with them in the field.

Bondss father joined the Giants in 1968 and played there until 1974. Early in his career, Bobby Bonds was heralded as the successor to Willie Mays, especially since the two men were such good friends. Unfortunately, Bobby could never live up to the expectations heaped upon him by well-meaning but overzealous fans. Even though he achieved the fabulous 30 home runs-30 stolen bases combination in five different seasons, his performance never satisfied the critics. He left the Giants in 1974 and played for a number of other major league teams, including the New York Yankees, the California Angels, the Chicago White Sox, the Texas Rangers, and the Cleveland Indians.

In the San Francisco Examiner, Larry Stone wrote: The Bonds know what its like to never do quite enough to satisfy the fans and the media. Bobby was supposed to be the next Willie Mays. Barry was supposed to be the next Bobby Bonds. With both, the story line was always potential, and how it wasnt being fulfilled. Barry Bonds seemed to echo these sentiments when asked about his father by Sports Illustrated. No one gives my dad credit for what he did, and they want to put me in the same category, he said. He did 30-30 five times, and they say he never became the ballplayer he should have become. Aint nobody else done 30-30 five times. Nobody. Zero. So I dont care whether they like me or they dont like me. I dont care.

The elder Bonds was an all-out competitor who liked to push his children to excel. Before he even attended school, young Barry could hit a Wiffle ball so hard it could break glass. He took to baseball naturally and learned from his father as well as his high school and college coaches. As a student at Serra High School in San Mateo, California, he played baseball, basketball, and football. When he graduated in 1982, he was offered a contract with his fathers former team, the San Francisco Giants. The money was significant$75,000but Bonds asked for more. The offer was withdrawn, and Bonds went to college instead.

At Arizona State University, Bonds played baseball for coach Jim Brock. The young outfielders talent was evident from the outset, and by his junior year he had been named to the All-Pac 10 team three consecutive years. He hit 23 home runs as a junior and compiled a career. 347 average, and he was chosen for the Sporting News All-American Team in 1985. Brock recalled his years coaching Bonds in Sports Illustrated: I liked the hell out of Barry Bonds. Unfortunately, I never saw a teammate care about him. Part of it would be his being rude, inconsiderate and self-centered. He bragged about the money he turned down, and he popped off about his dad. I dont think he ever figured out what to do to get people to like him.

Drafted by the Pirates

Bonds was drafted again in 1985, this time as the sixth pick in the first round. The team that won his services was the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bonds was sent to the minor leagues, where he played for the Prince William (Virginia) Pirates of the Carolina League. There he batted. 299, hit 13 home runs, and was named league player of the month for July. The following season found him in Hawaii, where he batted. 311 in just 44 games before being called up to Pittsburgh. All told, Bonds spent less than two years in the minor leagues. He was just 21 when he became a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Bonds quickly became the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the Pirates. On his second day with the team he smacked a double, and less than a week later he had his first home run. By years end he led the National League rookies in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and walks. The Pittsburgh front office rejoicedit was hoped that Bonds could help the team back into playoff contention.

In 1987 Bonds was switched to left field and moved to fifth in the batting order because he could hit to all fields. His batting average shot to. 261, he hit 25 home runs, and he stole 32 bases. The following year a knee injury kept his stolen base total down but did nothing to his average (.283) or home run total (24).

Bonds came into his own in 1990, the year he won his first National League Most Valuable Player award. He hit 32 home runs and stole 52 basesprompting further comparisons with his fatherand he led the National League in slugging percentage with. 565. Thanks in part to his outstanding season, the Pirates finished first in the National League East but could not win the league championship series.

In 1990 Pirate manager Jim Leyland told Sports Illustrated: Barrys at the point in his career where he should be. If he handles himself the way he is capable of, hes going to be a consistent star for years. The if in Leylands comment was important. Leyland recognized Bondss talent but also found the young star temperamental and insensitive toward teammates. After he won the MVP award, Bonds asked for salary arbitration. He wanted a bigger raise than the Pirates were willing to give him. He lost.

Matters took a turn for the worse after the Pirates lost the 1990 National League Championship Series. Bonds joined a group of other star players for a goodwill tour of Japan. Associated Press reporter Alan Robinson claimed that Bonds quit early in an exhibition game and then insulted his Japanese hosts by tossing aside a token gift during a post-game ceremony. Trouble followed Bonds back to America. During 1991 spring training in Florida, he engaged in a heated swearing match with Leyland and Pirates coach Bill Virdon after he refused to pose for photographs.

Bonds and Leyland reconciled, both of them recognizing that they had a job to do for the Pirates. Once again the team advanced to the league championship series, and Bonds hit. 292 for the 1991 season. Bonds narrowly missed being voted League MVP again, finishing second to Terry Pendleton of the Atlanta Braves. In 1992 Bonds returned to the top of the heap with his second MVP award and a. 311, 34-home run year.

Became Baseballs Highest Paid Player

It is especially rare for a team to trade a Most Valuable Player. Almost any club will try every avenue to keep such a star happy. The Pirates made little effort to court Bonds when he became a free agent at the end of the 1992 season. It was essentially a foregone conclusion that Bonds would leave the team, and everyone acted accordingly. For some time in the fall of 1992 it looked like Bonds would sign with the New York Yankees. Then, in December, he received a more tempting offer.

The San Francisco Giants had narrowly escaped being sold and sent to St. Petersburg, Florida. New ownership had been found in the San Francisco area instead, and that ownership wanted to take the fifth-place team and make it a serious contender. The new owner, president, Peter Magowan, eyed Bonds as the most desirable free agent on the marketplace. Magowan offered Bonds a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in baseball. Then the president sweetened the deal by adding Bondss father, Bobby, as a Giants hitting coach. Recognizing Barrys solitary personality, Magowan even offered the star private hotel suite accommodations on the road. Bondss average salary for one year of the six-year deal came to more money than his father and godfather earnedin their entire careers.

Together, Bobby and Barry Bonds hold the major league record for home runs from fathers and sons. Now they work side-by-side on the Giants, and they are closer than ever. If anyone understands Barrys unwillingness to talk to reporters and sign autographs, it is Bobby. For them to say my son is moody is not right, the elder Bonds told the San Francisco Examiner. How many days have they spent with my son? How many nights? Theyve met him for a couple of minutes, and because he might be busy that day, or they dont know his business-like attitude at the ballpark, they say, My god, hes got an attitude. And thats wrong.

Changed Gears

Fans and critics were not the only people that Bonds was having difficulties with in the early 1990s. In the summer of 1994, Bonds filed for divorce from his wife, Sun, and requested joint physical and legal custody of his children. After the divorce was final in 1995, Bonds vowed to the media as well as to his teammates that he was resolved to work to improve both his personal and professional lives. He began a rigorous off-season workout program and began to try and curb his famous bad attitude toward teammates and fans. He wanted to change the impressions of people who thought he was a bad person, for according to Bonds, I feel the press puts a stamp on certain players and once they stamp you as a bad person then thats what they feed on and theres nothing you can do about it, he explained. I know in my heart the type of ballplayer I am and the type of person I am. This transformation by Bonds would not be easily accepted, especially by the fans, who wanted not only a nicer Barry Bonds, but a better baseball playing Barry Bonds. Defending his demeanor on and off the field, Bonds asked Sports Illustrated interviewer Richard Hoffer: Why cant people just enjoy the show? And then let the entertainer go home and get his rest, so he can put on another show?

Over the next few years, Bonds made sure to live up to his title as an entertainer, continuing to improve his game and his statistics to become one of the best players of the 1990s. In 1996 he become one of only four players to ever hit 300 homeruns and steal 300 bases, sharing the honor with such greats as Willie Mays and Andre Dawson. The following year, Barry Bonds lead the Giants to a National League pennant and a chance to win the World Series. Once in the series, however, the Giants lost two extra inning games on their way to being swept by the Florida Marlins. Even this lose however could not tarnish the building ability of Barry Bonds, which was slowly being recognized by fans and sports critics alike. By the end of the 1990s, Barry Bonds was named Player of the Decade by Sports magazine and the image that had plagued him for most of his career was finally starting to turn around.

As the 1990s came to a close, it seemed that Barry Bonds was coming to the end of his career. He was 36 years old, which is approaching old age for a baseball player, and while his statistics were still high, most fans assumed he had reached his peak. But Barry Bonds had not even begun to show people what he could truly do. Before really breaking out on the field, Bonds restructured his personal life yet again. In 1998 he married girlfriend Liz Watson and in 1999 he became a father for the third time with the birth of his daughter, Aisha Lynn. The following year, he began to step up his on-field play becoming the first player to ever hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases. By the end of the decade, Barry Bonds had won three MVPs and eight Golden Glove Awards.

Made the History Books

As the 2001 season started, no one expected much from the San Francisco Giants other then a steady season and possibly a playoff game or two. What fans and commentators alike found instead was the explosive hitting machine that was Barry Bonds. By mid-season Bonds had already hit forty-five homeruns and was on pace to make a run at Mark McGuires record of 71 homeruns set back in 1998. He was also chasing after Mickey Mantles walk record as well as the all time MVP record. The chase for the records would last all season, coming down to the last three games of the Giants regular season.

On September 27, 2001, Bonds lost good friend and sometimes body guard Franklin Bradley and many were worried that this would hamper his playing. Bonds however proved to everyone, including himself, that nothing was going to stop him from slugging his way into the record books. On October 5, 2001, his first day back from leave, Bonds hit homerun number 70, which he dedicated to Bradley. The next day, he would bat his way into history as he hit homeruns 71 and 72. Bonds finished the 2001 season with an amazing 73 homeruns, 177 walks, 137 runs batted in, and an outstanding average of. 328.

Bonds broke every record he had been chasing all season, including the coveted MVP award making him the only player to receive the award four times. The Giants re-signed Bonds to a five year $90 million contract, ensuring them a powerful clean-up hitter for years to come. He signed with a team of agents to win endorsements. That paid off with his face on the Wheaties box and being named a spokesman for Kentucky Fried Chicken. As the 2002 season began, many fans and players worried that Bonds would not be able to match the feats of the previous season. Those fears seem to be unfounded however, for Bonds began the season with five homeruns in six games and maintaining a. 375 average. He also surpassed Mark McGwire in career home runs when he batted his 576th homerun in May of 2002. It was also his 400th homerun with the Giants. In a Sports Illustrated interview Bonds said, Im shocked, as shocked as anybody. Barry Bonds has developed from a rough and tumble outfielder and outsider to one of the greatest players baseball has ever seen, on and off the field. Reggie Jackson said of Bonds during the awarding of the MVP award, Bondss burgeoning legacy is almost palpable in the air. Babe Ruth. Ted Williams. Henry Aaron. Sooner or later theyll have to end that list with Barry Bonds.

Sources

Associated Press wire report, March 6, 1991.

Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1993, p. H6.

Business Wire, May 7, 2002.

Dallas Morning News, November 27, 2001.

Jet, December 10, 1990; August 17, 1992; December 28, January 4, 1993; June 20, 1994; February 4, 2002.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, May 25, 2002.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1992.

Newsday (Long Island, NY), April 4, 1993.

Newsweek, May 31, 1993, p. 64; September 20, 1993, p. 53.

New York Daily News, March 5, 1991.

Philadelphia Daily News, February 25, 1993.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 28, 1993.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 5, 2002, p. B4.

San Francisco Examiner, October 8, 1990.

Sporting News, July 12, 1999, pp. 12-20.

Sports Illustrated, June 25, 1990; December 14, 1992, p. 9; April 26, 1993, pp. 19-21; May 24, 1993, pp. 13-21; October 11, 1993, p. 20; June 4, 2001, pp. 8-11; October 15, 2001, pp. 46-50; April 15, 2002, pp. 42-45.

USA Today, June 19, 1991.

Washington Post, June 6, 1993, p. D1.

Mark Kram and Ralph Zerbonia

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Kram, Mark; Zerbonia, Ralph. "Bonds, Barry 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (May 29, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873600015.html

Kram, Mark; Zerbonia, Ralph. "Bonds, Barry 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2002. Retrieved May 29, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873600015.html

Bonds, Barry 1964–

Barry Bonds 1964

Professional baseball player

Second-Generation Ballplayer

Drafted by the Pirates

Became Baseballs Highest Paid Player in Deal with the Giants

Sources

Superstar leftfielder Barry Bonds is one of only a handful of players who have been named National League Most Valuable Player more than once. When Bonds won the MVP honors in 1990 and 1992 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the special recognition helped himas a free agent in 1993to land a record-breaking six-year, $43.75 million contract to play for the San Francisco Giants. That same year, he was named MVP for the third time in his career. The son of a professional baseball player, Bonds has been around the big leagues most of his life. He therefore approaches baseball as a jobwith its own pitfalls and pleasuresand does little to enhance his personal image.

Bonds has been called uncooperative, arrogant, and selfish. He has quarreled openly with teammates, managers, and especially reporters who try to corner him for interviews. His image has suffered to such an extent that he has become a favorite target for fan abuse on the roadand an occasional target of scolding from fellow players. Nothing has swayed Bonds to become more tolerant or easygoing. He points to his awesome offensive numbers, his three Gold Glove awards for fielding, and his MVP honors, and says they speak for themselves. Im not a media person, he told the San Francisco Examiner. I dont like to answer the same questions. I just like to play baseball. Im not into the other stuff. I turn down a lot of interviews. Its the United States of America. I have freedom of choice. Its two different jobskeeping the media happy, and keeping yourself and your family happy. Its too much for one man.

If Bonds is unpopular elsewhere, he is nothing less than a hero in Candlestick Park, home of the Giants. Since joining San Francisco in 1993, he has proven himself a major catalyst for improving the teams fortunes. Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent Sam Carchidi noted that since Bonds moved to San Francisco, the team has made major strides, mainly because of him.Bonds is part of a metamorphosis in San Francisco. Indeed, Bonds has helped to energize a franchise that has not seen playoff action in years and has attracted new hometown fans at a time when the club needed it most.

Second-Generation Ballplayer

You might say that Barry Lamar Bonds inherited a family business. He is the oldest son of baseball star Bobby Bonds and the godson of superstar Willie Mays. While other boys

At a Glance

Born Barry Lamar Bonds, July 24, 1964, in Riverside, CA; son of Bobby (a professional baseball player and coach) and Patricia (Howard) Bonds; married; wifes name, Sun; children: Nikolai, Shikari. Education: Attended Arizona State University, 1982-85.

Professional baseball player, 1985. Outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1986-92; outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, 1993.

Selected awards: Named National League Most Valuable Player, 1990, 1992, and 1993; Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, 1990, 1991, and 1992; Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Award, 1993.

Addresses: Office c/o San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 94124.

his age watched longingly from the bleachers, he used to shag fly balls in the Candlestick Park outfield with his dad and Mays. I was too young to bat with them, Bonds told Sports Illustrated, but I could compete with them in the field.

Bondss father joined the Giants in 1968 and played there until 1974. Early in his career, Bobby Bonds was heralded as the successor to Willie Mays, especially since the two men were such good friends. Unfortunately, Bobby could never live up to the expectations heaped upon him by well-meaning but overzealous fans. Even though he achieved the fabulous 30 home runs-30 stolen bases combination in five different seasons, his performance never satisfied the critics. He left the Giants in 1974 and played for a number of other major league teams, including the New York Yankees, the California Angels, the Chicago White Sox, the Texas Rangers, and the Cleveland Indians.

In the San Francisco Examiner, Larry Stone wrote: The Bondsknow what its like to never do quite enough to satisfy the fans and the media. Bobby was supposed to be the next Willie Mays. Barry was supposed to be the next Bobby Bonds. With both, the story line was always potential, and how it wasnt being fulfilled. Barry Bonds seemed to echo these sentiments when asked about his father by Sports Illustrated. No one gives my dad credit for what he did, and they want to put me in the same category, he said. He did 30-30 five times, and they say he never became the ballplayer he should have become. Aint nobody else done 30-30 five times. Nobody. Zero. So I dont care whether they like me or they dont like me. I dont care.

The elder Bonds was an all-out competitor who liked to push his children to excel. Before he even attended school, young Barry could hit a Wiffle ball so hard it could break glass. He took to baseball naturally and learned from his father as well as his high school and college coaches. As a student at Serra High School in San Mateo, California, he played baseball, basketball, and football. When he graduated in 1982, he was offered a contract with his fathers former team, the San Francisco Giants. The money was significant$75,000but Bonds asked for more. The offer was withdrawn, and Bonds went to college instead.

At Arizona State University, Bonds played baseball for coach Jim Brock. The young outfielders talent was evident from the outset, and by his junior year he had been named to the All-Pac 10 team three consecutive years. He hit 23 home runs as a junior and compiled a career .347 average, and he was chosen for the Sporting News All-American Team in 1985. Brock recalled his years coaching Bonds in Sports Illustrated: I liked the hell out of Barry Bonds. Unfortunately, I never saw a teammate care about him. Part of it would be his being rude, inconsiderate and self-centered. He bragged about the money he turned down, and he popped off about his dad. I dont think he ever figured out what to do to get people to like him.

Drafted by the Pirates

Bonds was drafted again in 1985, this time as the sixth pick in the first round. The team that won his services was the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bonds was sent to the minor leagues, where he played for the Prince William (Virginia) Pirates of the Carolina League. There he batted .299, hit 13 home runs, and was named league player of the month for July. The following season found him in Hawaii, where he batted .311 in just 44 games before being called up to Pittsburgh. All told, Bonds spent less than two years in the minor leagues. He was just 21 when he became a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Bonds quickly became the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the Pirates. On his second day with the team he smacked a double, and less than a week later he had his first home run. By years end he led the National League rookies in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and walks. The Pittsburgh front office rejoicedit was hoped that Bonds could help the team back into playoff contention.

In 1987 Bonds was switched to left field and moved to fifth in the batting order because he could hit to all fields. His batting average shot to .261, he hit 25 home runs, and he stole 32 bases. The following year a knee injury kept his stolen base total down but did nothing to his average (.283) or home run total (24).

Bonds came into his own in 1990, the year he won his first National League Most Valuable Player award. He hit 32 home runs and stole 52 basesprompting further comparisons with his fatherand he led the National League in slugging percentage with .565. Thanks in part to his outstanding season, the Pirates finished first in the National League East but could not win the league championship series.

In 1990, Pirate manager Jim Leyland told Sports Illustrated: Barrys at the point in his career where he should be. If he handles himself the way he is capable of, hes going to be a consistent star for years. The if in Leylands comment was important. Leyland recognized Bondss talent but also found the young star temperamental and insensitive toward teammates. After he won the MVP award, Bonds asked for salary arbitration. He wanted a bigger raise than the Pirates were willing to give him. He lost.

Matters took a turn for the worse after the Pirates lost the 1990 National League Championship Series. Bonds joined a group of other star players for a goodwill tour of Japan. Associated Press reporter Alan Robinson claimed that Bonds quit early in an exhibition game and then insulted his Japanese hosts by tossing aside a token gift during a post-game ceremony. Trouble followed Bonds back to America. During 1991 spring training in Florida, he engaged in a heated swearing match with Leyland and Pirates coach Bill Virdon after he refused to pose for photographs.

Bonds and Leyland reconciled, both of them recognizing that they had a job to do for the Pirates. Once again the team advanced to the league championship series, and Bonds hit .292 for the 1991 season. Bonds narrowly missed being voted League MVP again, finishing second to Terry Pendleton of the Atlanta Braves. In 1992 Bonds returned to the top of the heap with his second MVP award and a .311, 34-home run year.

Became Baseballs Highest Paid Player in Deal with the Giants

It is especially rare for a team to trade a Most Valuable Player. Almost any club will try every avenue to keep such a star happy. The Pirates made little effort to court Bonds when he became a free agent at the end of the 1992 season. It was essentially a foregone conclusion that Bonds would leave the team, and everyone acted accordingly. For some time in the fall of 1992 it looked like Bonds would sign with the New York Yankees. Then, in December, he received a more tempting offer.

The San Francisco Giants had narrowly escaped being sold and sent to St. Petersburg, Florida. New ownership had been found in the San Francisco area instead, and that ownership wanted to take the fifth-place team and make it a serious contender. The new owner/president, Peter Magowan, eyed Bonds as the most desirable free agent on the marketplace. Magowan offered Bonds a deal that would make him the best-paid player in baseball. Then the president sweetened the deal by adding Bondss father, Bobby, as a Giants hitting coach. Recognizing Barrys solitary personality, Magowan even offered the star private hotel suite accommodations on the road. Bondss average salary for one year of the six-year deal came to more money than his father and godfather earnedin their entire careers.

Together, Bobby and Barry Bonds hold the major league record for home runs from fathers and sons. Now they work side-by-side on the Giants, and they are closer than ever. If anyone understands Barrys unwillingness to talk to reporters and sign autographs, it is Bobby. For them to say my son is moody is not right, the elder Bonds told the San Francisco Examiner. How many days have they spent with my son? How many nights? Theyve met him for a couple of minutes, and because he might be busy that day, or they dont know his business-like attitude at the ballpark, they say, My god, hes got an attitude. And thats wrong.

For his own part, Barry Bonds has given up arguing about his attitude, his perceived lack of team spirit, his aloofness. He does not care if Giants fans like him or nothe just wants to win. Defending his demeanor on and off the field, Bonds asked Sports Illustrated interviewer Richard Hoffer: Why cant people just enjoy the show? And then let the entertainer go home and get his rest, so he can put on another show?

By the end of the 1993 season, Bonds had won National League MVP honors for the third time. He led the league with 44 home runs and a phenomenal slugging percentage of .683. But the San Francisco Giants lost the National League West crown to the Atlanta Braves in October. For the fourth straight year, Bonds missed his chance at World Series play. Still, Giants manager Dusty Baker credited Bonds with helping carry the team to the playoffs. We went further than anyone said we could, he concluded in Sports Illustrated.

Sources

Associated Press wire report, March 6, 1991.

Atlanta Constitution, May 28, 1993, p. H6.

Jet, December 10, 1990; August 17, 1992; December 28, 1992-January 4, 1993.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1992.

Newsday (Long Island, NY), April 4, 1993.

Newsweek, May 31, 1993, p. 64; September 20, 1993, p. 53.

New York Daily News, March 5, 1991.

Philadelphia Daily News, February 25, 1993.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 28, 1993.

San Francisco Examiner, October 8, 1990.

Sports Illustrated, June 25, 1990; December 14, 1992, p. 9; April 26, 1993, pp. 19-21; May 24, 1993, pp. 13- 21; October 11, 1993, p. 20; December 27, 1993.

USA Today, June 19, 1991.

Washington Post, June 6, 1993, p. D1.

Mark Kram

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Kram, Mark. "Bonds, Barry 1964–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1994. Encyclopedia.com. 29 May. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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