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|Born: July 24, 1964 (1964-07-24) |
||Threw: Left |
|May 30, 1986 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 26, 2007 for the San Francisco Giants|
|Runs batted in
|Career highlights and awards|
- 14× All-Star selection (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007)
- 8× Gold Glove Award winner (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998)
- 12× Silver Slugger Award winner (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2004)
- 7× NL MVP (1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
- 3x NL Hank Aaron Award winner (2001, 2002, 2004)
- 1996 Home Run Derby winner
- Holds numerous other records and achievements
- 762 career home runs
- 73 home runs in a season
- 2,558 career walks
- 688 career intentional walks
Barry Lamar Bonds (born July 24, 1964) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds. He debuted in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986 and joined the San Francisco Giants in 1993, where he stayed through 2007.
Bonds' accomplishments during his baseball career place him among the greatest baseball players of all-time. He has a record-setting seven Most Valuable Player awards, including a record-setting four consecutive MVPs. He is a 14-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove-winner. He holds numerous Major League Baseball records, including the all-time Major League Baseball home run record with 762 and the single-season Major League record for home runs with 73 (set in 2001), and is also the all-time career leader in both walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688).
Bonds has led a controversial career, notably as a central figure in baseball's steroids scandal. In 2007, he was indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to the grand jury during the government's investigation of BALCO, by testifying that he never knowingly took any illegal steroids. The trial is currently scheduled to begin March 21, 2011.
Born in Riverside, California, Bonds grew up in San Carlos, California and attended Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, California and excelled in baseball, basketball and football. As a freshman, he spent the baseball season on the JV team. The next three years—1980 to 1982—he starred on the varsity team. He batted for a .467 batting average his senior year, and was honored as a prep All-American. The Giants drafted Bonds in the second round of the 1982 MLB draft as a high school senior, but the Giants and Bonds were unable to agree on contract terms, so Bonds instead decided to attend college.
Bonds attended Arizona State University, hitting .347 with 45 home runs and 175 runs batted in (RBI). In 1984 he batted .360 and had 30 stolen bases. In 1985 he hit 23 home runs with 66 RBIs and a .368 batting average. He was a Sporting News All-American selection that year. He tied the NCAA record with seven consecutive hits in the College World Series as sophomore and was named to All-Time College World Series Team in 1996. He graduated from Arizona State in 1986 with a degree in criminology. He was named ASU On Deck Circle Most Valuable Player; other winners include Dustin Pedroia, Willie Bloomquist, Paul Lo Duca, and Ike Davis. During college, he played part of one summer in the amateur Alaska Baseball League with the Alaska Goldpanners.
Bonds was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round (6th overall) of the 1985 Major League Baseball draft. Bonds joined the Prince William Pirates of the Carolina League and was named July 1985 Player of the Month for the league. In 1986, he hit .311 in 44 games for the Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League.
Major league career
Pittsburgh Pirates (1986–1992)
Bonds made his major league debut on May 30, 1986. In 1986, Bonds led National League (NL) rookies with 16 home runs, 48 RBI, 36 stolen bases and 65 walks, but he finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting. He hit 25 home runs in his second season, along with 32 stolen bases and 59 RBIs. Bonds improved in 1988, hitting .283 with 24 home runs. Bonds finished with 19 homers, 58 RBIs, and 14 outfield assists in 1989, which was second in the NL.
Bonds won his first MVP award in 1990, hitting .301 with 33 home runs and 114 RBIs. His 52 stolen bases were third in the league. He won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. That year, the Pirates won the National League East title for their first postseason berth since winning the 1979 World Series. However, they were defeated in the NLCS by the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds. In 1991, Bonds also put up great numbers, hitting 25 homers and driving in 116 runs, and obtained another Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He finished second to the Atlanta Braves' Terry Pendleton (the NL batting champion) in the MVP voting. The next season, Bonds won his second MVP award. He dominated the NL, hitting .311 with 34 homers and 103 RBIs, and propelling the Pirates to their third straight National League East division title. However, Pittsburgh was defeated by the Braves in a seven-game National League Championship Series. Bonds was involved in the final play of Game 7 of the NLCS, where he fielded a base hit by Francisco Cabrera and attempted to throw out Sid Bream at home plate. But the throw to Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere was late and Bream scored the winning run. For the third consecutive season, the NL East Champion Pirates were denied a trip to the World Series.
San Francisco Giants (1993–2007)
In 1993, Bonds left the Pirates to sign a lucrative free agent contract worth a then-record $43.75 million ($65.9 million in current dollar terms) over 6 years with the Giants, with whom his father spent the first seven years of his career, and with whom his godfather Willie Mays played 22 of his 24 Major League seasons. The deal was at that time the largest in baseball history, in terms of both total value and average annual salary. To honor his father, Bonds switched his jersey number to 25 once he signed with the Giants, as it had been Bobby's number in San Francisco. (His number during most of his stay with the Pirates, 24, was retired in honor of Mays anyway). Bonds hit .336 in 1993, leading the league with 46 home runs and 123 RBI en route to his second consecutive MVP award, and third overall. As good as the Giants were (winning 103 games), the Atlanta Braves won 104 in what some call the last great pennant race (due to the Wild Card being instituted shortly after).
In the strike-shortened season of 1994, Bonds hit .312 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 74 walks, and he finished 4th in MVP voting. In 1995, Bonds hit 33 homers and drove in 104 runs, hitting .294 but finished only 12th in MVP voting.
In 1996, Bonds became the first National League player and second (of the current list of four) major league player(s) to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season. The other members of the 40-40 club are José Canseco—1988, Alex Rodriguez—1998, and Alfonso Soriano—2006; his father Bobby Bonds was one home run short in 1973 when he hit 39 home runs and stole 43 bases. Bonds drove in 129 runs with a .308 average and walked a then-National League record 151 times. During the 1996 season, Bonds became the 4th player in history to steal 300 bases and hit 300 home runs for a career, joining Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds in the 300-300 club, but he only finished fifth in the MVP balloting. His 300th (and 301st) home runs came off of Florida Marlins' John Burkett on April 27. In 1997 Bonds hit .291, his lowest average since 1989. He hit 40 home runs for the second straight year and drove in 101 runs, leading the league in walks again with 145. He tied his father in 1997 for having the most 30/30 seasons, and he again placed fifth in the MVP balloting.
In 1998, he hit .303 with 37 home runs and drove in 122 runs, winning his eighth Gold Glove, and became the first player ever to enter the 400-400 club by having career totals of 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. The milestone home run came on August 23, off of Kirt Ojala who like Burkett was pitching for the Marlins. With two outs in the 9th inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 28, 1998, Bonds became only the fifth player in baseball history to be given an intentional walk with the bases loaded. Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928) and Bill Nicholson (1944) were three others in the 20th century who received that rare honor; however Abner Dalrymple was the first to receive one in 1881. Bonds finished 8th in the MVP voting.
Bill James ranked Bonds as the best player of the 1990s, adding that the decade's second-best player (Craig Biggio) had been closer in production to the decade's 10th-best player than to Bonds. In 1999, with statistics through 1997 being considered, Bonds ranked Number 34 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, making him the highest-ranking active player. When the Sporting News list was redone in 2005, Bonds was ranked 6th behind Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Henry Aaron. Bonds was omitted from 1999's Major League Baseball All-Century Team, to which Ken Griffey, Jr. was elected. James wrote of Bonds, "Certainly the most unappreciated superstar of my lifetime... Griffey has always been more popular, but Bonds has been a far, far greater player." In 1999, James rated Bonds as the 16th best player of all time. "When people begin to take in all of his accomplishments", James predicted, "Bonds may well be rated among the five greatest players in the history of the game."
Bonds at the plate with the Giants.
In 2000, the following year, Bonds hit .306 with a slugging percentage of .688 (career best at that time) and hit 49 home runs in just 143 games (also a career high to that point), while drawing a league-leading 117 walks.
The next year, Bonds' offensive production reached even higher levels, breaking not only his own personal records but several major league records. In the Giants' first 50 games in 2001, Bonds hit 28 home runs, including 17 in May—a career high. This early stretch included his 500th home run hit on April 17 against Terry Adams fo the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also hit 39 home runs by the All-star break (a major league record), drew a major league record 177 walks, and had a .515 on-base average, a feat not seen since Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams over forty years earlier. Bonds' slugging percentage was a major league record .863 (411 total bases in 476 at-bats), and, most impressively, he ended the season with a major league record 73 home runs. On October 4, he tied the previous record of 70 set by Mark McGwire in the 162nd game in 1998 in the 159th game of the season by homering off of Wilfredo Rodríguez. He then hit numbers 71 and 72 off of Chan Ho Park the following night. Bonds added his 73rd off of Dennis Springer on October 7.
Bonds re-signed with the Giants for a five-year, $90 million contract in January 2002. That year, he hit 46 home runs in 403 at-bats. He won the NL batting title with a career-high .370 average and struck out only 47 times. Despite playing in nine fewer games than the previous season, he drew 198 walks, a major-league record, 68 of them intentional. He slugged .799, then the fourth-highest total all time. Bonds broke Ted Williams' major league record for on-base average with .582. Bonds also hit his 600th home run, less than a year and a half after hitting his 500th. The Home run came on August 9 at home against Kip Wells.
In 2003, Bonds played in just 130 games. He hit 45 home runs in just 390 at-bats, along with a .341 batting average. He slugged .749, walked 148 times, and had an on-base average well over .500 (.529) for the third straight year. He also became the only member of the career 500 home run/500 stolen base club by stealing second base on June 23 off of pitcher Eric Gagne in the 11th inning of a tied ball game to against the Los Angeles Dodgers (who Bonds had ironically tallied his 500th home run against). Bonds scored the game-winning run later that inning.
In 2004, Bonds had perhaps his best season. He hit .362 en route to his second National League batting title, and broke his own record by walking 232 times. He slugged .812, which was fourth-highest of all time, and broke his on-base percentage record with a .609 average. Bonds passed Mays on the career home run list by hitting his 661st off of Ben Ford on April 13, He then hit his 700th off of Jake Peavy on September 17. Bonds hit 45 home runs in 373 at-bats, and struck out just 41 times, putting himself in elite company, as few major leaguers have ever had more home runs than strikeouts in a season. Bonds would win his fourth consecutive MVP award and his seventh overall. His seven MVP awards are four more than any other player in history. In addition, no other player from either league has been awarded the MVP four times in a row. (The MVP award was first given in 1931). On July 4, he tied and passed Rickey Henderson's career bases on balls record with his 2190th and 2191st career walks.
As Bonds neared Aaron's record, Aaron was called on for his opinion of Bonds. He clarified that he was a fan and admirer of Bonds and avoided the controversy regarding whether the record should be denoted with an asterisk due to Bonds' alleged steroid usage. He felt recognition and respect for the award was something to be determined by the fans. As the steroid controversy received greater media attention during the offseason before the 2005 season, Aaron expressed some reservations about the statements Bonds made on the issue. Aaron expressed that he felt drug and steroid use to boost athletic performance was inappropriate. Aaron was frustrated that the media could not focus on events that occurred in the field of play and wished drugs or gambling allegations such as those associated with Pete Rose could be emphasized less. In 2007, Aaron felt the whole steroid use issue was very controversial and decided that he would not attend any possible record-breaking games. Aaron congratulated Bonds through the media when Bonds broke Aaron's record.
Bonds' salary for the 2005 season was $22 million, the second-highest salary in Major League Baseball (the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez earned the highest, $25.2 million). Bonds endured a knee injury, multiple surgeries, and rehabilitation. He was activated on September 12 and started in left field. In his return against the San Diego Padres, he nearly hit a home run in his first at-bat. Bonds finished the night 1-for-4. Upon his return, Bonds resumed his high-caliber performance at the plate, hitting home runs in four consecutive games from September 18 to September 21 and finishing with five homers in only 14 games.
Bonds batting against the Chicago Cubs in 2006
In 2006, Bonds earned $20 million (not including bonuses), the fourth highest salary in baseball. Through the 2006 season he had earned approximately $172 million during his then 21-year career, making him baseball's all-time highest paid player. Bonds hit under .200 for his first 10 games of the season and did not hit a home run until April 22. This 10-game stretch was his longest home run slump since the 1998 season. On May 7, Bonds drew within one home run of tying Babe Ruth for second place on the all time list, hitting his 713th career home run into the second level of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, off pitcher Jon Lieber in an ESPN nationally-televised game in which the Giants lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. The towering home run—one of the longest in Citizens Bank Park's two-season history, traveling an estimated 450 feet (140 m)—hit off the facade of the third deck in right field.
Then, on May 20, Bonds tied Ruth, hitting his 714th career home run to deep right field to lead off the top of the 2nd inning. The home run came off left-handed pitcher Brad Halsey of the Oakland A's, in an interleague game played in Oakland, California. Since this was an interleague game at an American League stadium, Bonds was batting as the designated hitter in the lineup for the Giants. Bonds was quoted after the game as being "glad it's over with" and stated that more attention could be focused on Albert Pujols, who was on a very rapid home run pace in early 2006.
A sign counts up to Barry Bonds' 714th home run
Concession stand where home run number 715 was hit in center field
On May 28, Bonds passed Ruth, hitting his 715th career home run to center field off Colorado Rockies pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. The ball was hit an estimated 445 feet (140 m) into center field where it went through the hands of several fans but then fell onto an elevated platform in center field. Then it rolled off the platform where Andrew Morbitzer, a 38-year-old San Francisco resident, caught the ball while he was in line at a concession stand. Mysteriously, radio broadcaster Dave Flemming's radio play-by-play of the home run went silent just as the ball was hit, apparently from a microphone failure. But the televised version, called by Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, was not affected.
On September 22, Bonds tied Henry Aaron's National League career home run record of 733. The home run came in the top of the 6th inning of a high-scoring game against the Milwaukee Brewers, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The achievement was notable for its occurrence in the very city where Aaron began (with the Milwaukee Braves) and concluded (with the Brewers, then in the American League) his career. With the Giants trailing 10–8, Bonds hit a blast to deep center field on a 2–0 pitch off the Brewers' Chris Spurling with runners on first and second and one out. Though the Giants were at the time clinging to only a slim chance of making the playoffs, Bonds' home run provided the additional drama of giving the Giants an 11–10 lead late in a critical game in the final days of a pennant race. The Brewers eventually won the game, 13–12, despite Bonds' going 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, the record-tying home run, and 6 runs batted in.
On September 23, Bonds surpassed Aaron for the NL career home run record. Hit in Milwaukee like the previous one, this was a solo home run off Chris Capuano of the Brewers. This was the last home run Bonds hit in 2006. In 2006, Bonds recorded his lowest slugging percentage (a statistic that he has historically ranked among league leaders season after season) since 1991 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In January 2007, the New York Daily News reported that Bonds had tested positive for amphetamines. Under baseball's amphetamine policy, which had been in effect for one season, players testing positive were to submit to six additional tests and undergo treatment and counseling. The policy also stated that players were not to be identified for a first positive test, but the New York Daily News leaked the test's results. When the Players Association informed Bonds of the test results, he initially attributed it to a substance he had taken from the locker of Giants teammate Mark Sweeney, but would later retract this claim and publicly apologize to Sweeney.
Bonds at the plate against the Rockies in 2007
On January 29, 2007, the Giants finalized a contract with Bonds for the 2007 season. After the commissioner's office rejected Bonds's one-year, $15.8 million deal because it contained a personal-appearance provision, the team sent revised documents to his agent, Jeff Borris, who stated that "At this time, Barry is not signing the new documents." Bonds signed a revised one-year, $15.8 million contract on February 15 and reported to the Giants' Spring Training camp on time.
Bonds resumed his march to the all-time record early in the 2007 season. After an opening game in which all he had was a first-inning single past third base against a right-shifted infield (immediately followed by a stolen base and then a base-running misjudgment that got him thrown out at home) and a deep out to left field late in the game, Bonds returned the next day, April 4, with another mission. In his first at-bat of the season's second game at the Giants' AT&T Park, Bonds hit a Chris Young (of the San Diego Padres) pitch just over the wall to the left of straightaway center field for career home run 735. This home run put Bonds past the midway point between Ruth and Aaron.
Bonds did not homer again until April 13, when he hit two (736 and 737) in a 3 for 3 night that included 4 RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Home runs number 739 and 740 came in back to back games on April 21 and April 22 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The hype surrounding Bonds' pursuit of the home run record escalated on May 14. On this day, Sports Auction for Heritage (a Dallas-based auction house) offered US$1 million to the fan that caught Bonds' record-breaking 756th-career home run. The million dollar offer was rescinded on June 11 out of concern of fan safety. Home run, 748, came on Father's Day, June 17, in the final game of a 3-game road series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, where Bonds had never previously played. With this homer, Fenway Park became the 36th major league ballpark in which Bonds had hit a home run. He hit a Tim Wakefield knuckleball just over the low fence into the Giant's bullpen in right field. It was his first home run off his former Pittsburgh Pirate teammate, who became the 441st different pitcher to surrender a four-bagger to Bonds. The 750th career home run, hit on June 29, also came off a former teammate: Liván Hernández. The blast came in the 8th inning and at that point tied the game at 3–3.
On July 19, after a 21 at-bat hitless streak, Bonds hit 2 home runs, numbers 752 and 753, against the Chicago Cubs. He went 3–3 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and a walk on that day. The struggling last place Giants still lost the game 9–8. On July 27, Bonds hit home run 754 against Florida Marlins pitcher Rick VandenHurk. Bonds was then walked his next 4 at-bats in the game, but a 2-run shot helped the Giants win the game 12–10. It marked the first time since he had hit #747 that Bonds had homered in a game the Giants won. On August 4, Bonds hit a 382 foot (116 m) home run against Clay Hensley of the San Diego Padres for home run number 755, tying Hank Aaron's all-time record. Bonds greeted his son, Nikolai, with an extended bear hug after crossing home plate. Bonds greeted his teammates and then his wife, Liz Watson, and daughter Aisha Lynn behind the backstop. Hensley was the 445th different pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds. Ironically, given the cloud of suspicion that surrounded Bonds, the tying home run was hit off a pitcher who'd been suspended by baseball in 2005 for steroid use. He was walked in his next at bat and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.
On August 7 at 8:51 PM PDT, Bonds hit a 435 foot (133 m) home run, his 756th, off a pitch from Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals, breaking the all-time career home run record, formerly held by Hank Aaron. Coincidentally, Bacsik's father had faced Aaron (as a pitcher for the Texas Rangers) after Aaron had hit his 755th home run. On August 23, 1976, Michael J. Bacsik held Aaron to a single and a fly out to right field. The younger Bacsik commented later, "If my dad had been gracious enough to let Hank Aaron hit a home run, we both would have given up 756." After hitting the home run, Bonds gave Bacsik an autographed bat.
The pitch, the seventh of the at-bat, was a 3–2 pitch which Bonds hit into the right-center field bleachers. The fan who ended up with the ball, 22-year-old Matt Murphy from Queens, New York (and a Met fan), was promptly protected and escorted away from the mayhem by a group of San Francisco police officers. After Bonds finished his home run trot, a ten-minute delay followed, including a brief video by Aaron congratulating Bonds on breaking the record Aaron had held for 33 years, and expressing the hope that "the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams." Bonds made an impromptu emotional statement on the field, with Willie Mays, his godfather, at his side and thanked his teammates, family and his late father. Bonds sat out the rest of the game and was replaced in left field.
The commissioner, Bud Selig, was not in attendance in this game but was represented by the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Jimmie Lee Solomon. Selig called Bonds later that night to congratulate him on breaking the record. President George W. Bush also called Bonds the next day to congratulate him. On August 24, San Francisco honored and celebrated Bonds' career accomplishments and breaking the home run record with a large rally in Justin Herman Plaza. The rally included video messages from Lou Brock, Ernie Banks, Ozzie Smith, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan. Speeches were made by Willie Mays, Giants teammates Omar Vizquel and Rich Aurilia, and Giants owner Peter Magowan. Mayor Gavin Newsom presented Bonds the key to the City and County of San Francisco and Giants vice president Larry Baer gave Bonds the home plate he touched after hitting his 756th career home run.
The record-setting ball was consigned to an auction house on August 21, and sold with a winning bid of USD$752,467 on September 15. The high bidder, fashion designer Marc Ecko, created a website to let fans decide its fate. Ben Padnos, who submitted the (US) $186,750 winning bid on Bonds' record-tying 755th home run ball also set up a website to let fans decide its fate. Of Ecko's plans, Bonds said "He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid."
Bonds concluded the 2007 season with a .276 batting average, 28 home runs, and 66 RBIs in 126 games and 340 at bats. At the age of 43, he led both leagues in walks with 132.
2008 and 2009 seasons
On September 21, 2007, the San Francisco Giants confirmed that they would not re-sign Bonds for the 2008 season. The story was first announced on Bonds' own web site earlier that day. Bonds officially filed for free agency on October 29, 2007. His agent Jeff Borris said: "I'm anticipating widespread interest from every Major League team."
There was much speculation before the 2008 season about where Bonds might play. However, no one signed him during the 2008 or 2009 seasons. If he ever returns to Major League Baseball, Bonds would be within close range of several significant hitting milestones: he needs just 65 hits to reach 3,000, 4 runs batted in to reach 2,000, and 38 home runs to reach 800. He needs 69 more runs scored to move past Rickey Henderson as the all-time runs champion, and 37 extra base hits to move past Hank Aaron as the all-time extra base hits champion.
As of November 13, 2009, Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, maintained that Bonds was still not retired  On December 9, however, Borris told the San Francisco Chronicle that Bonds has played his last major league game. Bonds announced on April 11, 2010 that he is proud of McGwire for admitting his use of steroids. Bonds said that now is not the time to retire, but he insists that he is not in shape to play right now if an interested club called him.
Mugshot after 2007 indictment
Since 2003, Bonds has been a key figure in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) scandal. He was under investigation by a federal grand jury regarding his testimony in the BALCO case, and was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges on November 15, 2007. The indictment alleges that Bonds lied while under oath about his alleged use of steroids.
In 2003, Bonds became embroiled in a scandal when Greg Anderson of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), Bonds' trainer since 2000, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and charged with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes, including a number of baseball players. This led to speculation that Bonds had used performance-enhancing drugs during a time when there was no mandatory testing in Major League Baseball. Bonds declared his innocence, attributing his changed physique and increased power to a strict regimen of bodybuilding, diet and legitimate supplements.
During grand jury testimony on December 4, 2003, Bonds said that he used a clear substance and a cream that he received from his personal strength trainer, Greg Anderson, who told him they were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. This testimony, as reported by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, has frequently been misrepresented. Later reports on Bonds's leaked grand-jury testimony contend that he admitted to unknowingly using "the cream" and "the clear".
In July 2005, all four defendants in the BALCO steroid scandal trial, including Anderson, struck deals with federal prosecutors that did not require them to reveal names of athletes who may have used banned drugs.
Bonds withdrew from the MLB Players Association's (MLBPA) licensing agreement because he felt independent marketing deals would be more lucrative for him. Bonds is the first player in the thirty-year history of the licensing program not to sign. Because of this withdrawal, his name and likeness are not usable in any merchandise licensed by the MLBPA. In order to use his name or likeness, a company must deal directly with Bonds. For this reason he does not appear in some baseball video games, forcing game-makers to create generic athletes to replace him. For example, Bonds is replaced by "Jon Dowd" in MVP Baseball 2005.
Game of Shadows
In March, 2006 the book Game of Shadows, written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, was released amid a storm of media publicity including the cover of Sports Illustrated. Initially small excerpts of the book were released by the authors in the issue of Sports Illustrated. The book alleges Bonds used stanozolol and a host of other steroids, and is perhaps most responsible for the change in public opinion regarding Bonds' steroid use.
The book contained excerpts of grand jury testimony that is supposed to be sealed and confidential by law. The authors have been steadfast in their refusal to divulge their sources and at one point faced jail time. On February 14, 2007, Troy Ellerman, one of Victor Conte's lawyers, pled guilty to leaking grand jury testimony. Through the plea agreement, he will spend two and a half years in jail.
Love Me, Hate Me
In May 2006, former Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman released a revealing biography of Bonds entitled Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Anti-Hero. The book also contained many allegations against Bonds. The book, which describes Bonds as a polarizing insufferable braggart with a legendary ego and staggering ability, relied on over five hundred interviews, except with Bonds himself.
Perjury investigation and federal indictment
On November 15, 2007, Bonds was indicted for both four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice as it relates to the government investigation of BALCO.
On February 14, 2008 a typo in court papers filed by Federal prosecutors erroneously alleged that Bonds tested positive for steroids in November, 2001, a month after hitting his record 73rd home run. The reference was meant instead to refer to a November 2000 test that had already been disclosed and previously reported. The typo sparked a brief media frenzy.
His trial for obstruction of justice was to have begun on March 2, 2009, but jury selection was postponed due to eleventh-hour appeals by the prosecution. The trial is currently scheduled to begin March 21, 2011. Some do not expect Bonds to get prison time after pro cyclist Tammy Thomas received house arrest and probation for similar crimes in the BALCO scandal.
Bonds on Bonds
Main article: Bonds on Bonds
In April 2006 and May 2006, ESPN aired a few episodes of a 10-part reality TV (unscripted, documentary-style) series starring Bonds. The show, titled Bonds on Bonds, focused on Bonds' chase of Babe Ruth's and Hank Aaron's home run records. Some felt the show should be put on hiatus until baseball investigated Bonds' steroid use allegations. The series was canceled in June 2006, ESPN and producer Tollin/Robbins Productions citing "creative control" issues with Bonds and his representatives.
Bonds met Susann ("Sun") Margreth Branco, the mother of his first two children, in Montreal, Quebec in August 1987. They eloped to Las Vegas February 5, 1988. They had two children (Nikolai and Shikari) and separated in June 1994, divorced in December 1994 and had their marriage annulled in 1997 by the Catholic Church. The divorce was a media affair because Bonds had his Swedish spouse sign a prenuptial agreement in which she "waived her right to a share of his present and future earnings" and which was upheld. Bonds had been providing his wife $20,000/month in child support and $10,000 in spousal support at the time of the ruling. During the hearings to set permanent support levels, allegations of abuse came from both parties. The trial dragged on for months, but Bonds was awarded both houses and reduced support. On August 21, 2000, the Supreme Court of California, in an opinion signed by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, unanimously held that "substantial evidence supports the determination of the trial court that the [prenuptial] agreement in the present case was entered into voluntarily."
Nikolai was a batboy for the Giants and always sat next to his dad in the dugout during games.
Bonds remarried on January 10, 1998 in the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton Hotel in front of 240 guests. Bonds lives in Los Altos Hills, California, with his second wife, Liz Watson, and their daughter Aisha. He also owns a home in the exclusive gated community of Beverly Park in Beverly Hills, CA. On June 9, 2009, Liz Watson filed for legal separation, citing irreconcilable differences. On Feb 26, 2010, Watson withdrew her separation proceeding and filed for divorce.
Bonds also had an extensive intimate relationship with Kimberly Bell from 1994 through May, 2003. Bonds purchased a home in Scottsdale, Arizona for Kimberly.
Bonds has an older brother, Bobby, Jr. who was a professional baseball player. His paternal aunt, Rosie Bonds, is a former American record holder in the 80 meter hurdles, and she competed in the 1964 Olympics. He is a distant cousin of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
Besides holding Major League career records in home runs (762), walks (2,558), and intentional walks (688), Bonds also leads all active players in RBI (1,996), on-base percentage (.444), runs (2,227), games (2,986), extra-base hits (1,440), at-bats per home run (12.92), and total bases (5,976). He is 2nd in doubles (601), slugging percentage (.607), stolen bases (514), at-bats (9,847), and hits (2,935), 6th in triples (77), 8th in sacrifice flies (91), and 9th in strikeouts (1,539), through September 26, 2007.
Bonds is the lone member of the 500–500 club, which means he has hit at least 500 home runs (762) and stolen 500 bases (514). He is also one of only four baseball players all-time to be in the 40–40 club (1996), which means he hit 40 home runs (42) and stole 40 bases (40) in the same season; the other members are José Canseco, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.
- Home runs in a single season (73), 2001
- Home runs against different pitchers (449)
- Home runs since turning 40 years old (74)
- Home runs in the year he turned 43 years old (28)
- Consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs (13), 1992–2004
- Slugging percentage in a single season (.863), 2001
- Slugging percentage in a World Series (1.294), 2002
- Consecutive seasons with .600 slugging percentage or higher (8), 1998–2005
- On-base percentage in a single season (.609), 2004
- Walks in a single season (232), 2004
- Intentional walks in a single season (120), 2004
- Consecutive games with a walk (18)
- MVP awards (7—closest competitors trail with 3), 1990, 1992–93, 2001–04
- Consecutive MVP awards (4), 2001–04
- National League Player of the Month selections (13—the next highest in either league is 8 by Frank Thomas, and the next highest in the N.L. is 6 by George Foster, Pete Rose and Dale Murphy)
- Oldest player (age 38) to win the National League batting title (.370) for the first time, 2002
- Consecutive plate appearances with a walk (7)
- Consecutive plate appearances reaching base (15)
- Tied with his father, Bobby, for most seasons with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases (5) and are the only father-son members of the 30–30 club
- Home runs in a single post-season (8), 2002
- 5-time SF Giants Player of the Year (1998, 2001–04)
- 7-time Baseball America NL All-Star (1993, 1998, 2000–04)
- 3-Time Major League Player of the Year (1990, 2001, 2004)
- 3-Time Baseball America MLB Player of the Year (2001, 2003–04)
- 8-Time Gold Glove winner for NL Outfielder (1990–94, 1996–98). As of the 2009 season, he is the last left fielder to win a Gold Glove in the National League.
- 12-Time Silver Slugger winner for NL Outfielder (1990–94, 1996–97, 2000–04)
- 14-time All-Star (1990, 1992–98, 2000–04, 2007)
- 3-Time NL Hank Aaron Award winner (2001–02, 2004)
- Listed at #6 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, the highest-ranked active player, in 2005.
- Named a finalist to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999, but not elected to the team in the fan balloting.
- Rating of 352 on Baseball-Reference.com's Hall of Fame monitor (100 is a good HOF candidate); 9th among all hitters, highest among hitters not in HOF yet.
- Only the second player to twice have a single-season slugging percentage over .800, with his record .863 in 2001 and .812 in 2004. Babe Ruth was the other, with .847 in 1920 and .846 in 1921.
- Became the first player in history with more times on base (376) than official times at bats (373) in 2004. This was due to the record number of walks, which count as a time on base but not a time at-bat. He had 135 hits, 232 walks, and 9 hit-by-pitches for the 376 number.
- With his father Bobby (332, 461), leads all father-son combinations in combined home runs (1,094) and stolen bases (975), respectively through September 26, 2007.
- Played minor league baseball in both Alaska and Hawaii. In 1983, he played for the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks in the Alaska Baseball League, and in 1986, he played for the Hawaii Islanders in the Pacific Coast League.
- One of only six Pittsburgh Pirates to ever be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The other five are Willie Stargell (twice), Roberto Clemente, Harry Walker, Dick Groat, and Frank Thomas. He is also one of only seven San Francisco Giants to appear on the cover, along with Kelly Downs, Rick Reuschel, Willie Mays (three times), Alvin Dark, Juan Marichal, and Tim Lincecum. He has appeared on the cover three times in total; twice with the Giants and once with the Pirates. He is the last Pirate player to appear on the cover.
George Brett (baseball)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Brett in February 2009
|Third baseman / Designated hitter / First baseman|
|Born: May 15, 1953 (1953-05-15) |
Glen Dale, West Virginia
||Threw: Right |
|August 2, 1973 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1993 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in
|Career highlights and awards|
- 13× All-Star selection (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
- World Series champion (1985)
- Gold Glove Award winner (1985)
- 3× Silver Slugger Award winner (1980, 1985, 1988)
- 1980 AL MVP
- 1985 ALCS MVP
- 1986 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
- 1980 Hutch Award
- Kansas City Royals #5 retired
|Member of the National|
| Baseball Hall of Fame |
|| 98.2% (first ballot)|
George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953 in Glen Dale, West Virginia), nicknamed "Mullet", is a former Major League Baseball third baseman, designated hitter, and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Kansas City Royals. Brett's 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in major league history, and 15th all-time. Brett is one of four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average with the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
 Early life and baseball career
Brett was the youngest of four sons of a sports-minded family which included Ken, the second oldest, a major league pitcher who had pitched in the 1967 World Series at age 19. Brothers John (eldest) and Bobby had brief careers in the minor leagues. Although his three older brothers were born in Brooklyn, George was born in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. Jack & Ethel Brett then moved the family to the Midwest and three years later to El Segundo, a suburb of Los Angeles, just south of Los Angeles International Airport. George grew up hoping to follow in the footsteps of his three older brothers. He graduated from El Segundo High School in 1971 and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round (29th overall) of the 1971 baseball draft. His high school teammate was pitcher Scott McGregor. 
Brett began his professional baseball career as a shortstop, but had trouble going to his right defensively and was soon shifted to third base. As a third baseman, his powerful arm remained an asset, and he remained at that spot for more than 15 years. Brett's minor league stops were in Billings, Montana (1971) for Rookie League, San Jose, California (1972) for Single-A, and Omaha, Nebraska in 1973 for Triple-A with the Omaha Royals, batting .291, .274, and .284 respectively. The K.C. Royals promoted him to the major leagues on August 2, 1973, when he played in 13 games and was 5 for 40 (.125).
Brett won the starting third base job in 1974, but struggled at the plate until he asked for help from Charlie Lau, the Royals' batting coach. Spending the 1974 All-Star break working together, Lau taught Brett how to protect the entire plate and cover up some holes in his swing that experienced big-league pitchers were exploiting. Armed with this knowledge, Brett developed rapidly as a hitter, and finished the year with a .282 batting average in 113 games.
Brett topped the .300 mark for the first time in 1975, hitting .308, and then won his first batting title in 1976 with a .333 average. The four contenders for the batting title that year were Brett and Royals teammate Hal McRae, and Minnesota Twins teammates Rod Carew and Lyman Bostock. In dramatic fashion, Brett went 2 for 4 in the final game of the season against the Twins, beating out his three rivals, all playing in the same game. His lead over second-place McRae was less than .001. Brett won the title when a fly ball dropped in front of Twins left fielder Steve Brye, bounced on the Royals Stadium AstroTurf and over Brye's head to the wall; Brett circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run. McRae, batting just behind Brett in the line up, grounded out and Brett won his first batting title.
 Early career success
From May 8 through May 16, 1976, Brett had 3 or more hits in 6 consecutive games, a Major League record. That year, the Royals won the first of three straight AL West Division titles, beginning a great rivalry with the New York Yankees — whom they faced in the American League Championship Series each of those three years. In the fifth and final game of the 1976 ALCS, Brett hit a three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to tie the score at six — only to see the Yankees' Chris Chambliss launch a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yankees a 7–6 win.
A year later, Brett emerged as a power hitter with 22 home runs helping the Royals to another American League Championship Series, 1977. In 1978 Brett batted .294 (the only time between 1976 and 1983 in which he did not bat at least .300) in helping the Royals win a third consecutive American League West title. However, Kansas City once again lost to the Yankees in the ALCS, but not before Brett hit three home runs off Catfish Hunter in Game Three, becoming the second player to hit three home runs in an LCS game (Bob Robertson was the first, having done so in Game 2 of the 1971 NLCS).
Brett followed that up with a successful 1979 season, in which he finished third in AL MVP voting. He became the sixth player in league history to have at least 20 doubles, triples and homers all in one season (42-20-23) and led the league in hits, doubles and triples while batting .329, with an on-base percentage of .376 and a slugging percentage of .563.
All these impressive statistics were just a prelude to 1980, when Brett won the American League MVP and batted .390, a modern record for a third baseman. Brett's batting average was at or above .400 as late in the season as September 19, and the country closely followed his quest to bat .400 for an entire season, a feat which has not been accomplished since Ted Williams in 1941.
Brett's 1980 batting average of .390 is second only to Tony Gwynn's 1994 average of .394 (Gwynn played in 110 games and had 419 at-bats in the strike-shortened season, compared to Brett's 449 at bats in 1980) for the highest single season batting average since 1941. Brett also recorded 118 RBI, while appearing in just 117 games; it is the first instance of a player averaging one RBI per game (in more than 100 games) since Walt Dropo thirty seasons prior. He led the American League in both slugging and on-base percentage.
Brett started out slowly, hitting only .259 in April. In May, he hit .329 to get his season average to .301. In June, the 27 year-old third baseman hit .472 (17-36) to raise his season average to .337, but played his last game for a month on June 10, not returning to the lineup until after the All-Star Break on July 10.
In July, after being off for a month, he played in 21 games and hit .494 (42–85), raising his season average to .390. Brett started a 30-game hitting streak on July 18, which lasted until he went 0-3 on August 19 (the following night he went 3-for-3). During these 30 games Brett hit .467 (57-122). His high mark for the season came a week later, when Brett's batting average was at .407 on August 26, after he went 5-for-5 on a Tuesday night in Milwaukee. He batted .430 for the month of August (30 games), and his season average was at .403 with five weeks to go. For the three hot months of June, July, and August 1980, George Brett played in 60 American League games and hit .459 (111–242), most of it after a return from a monthlong injury. For these 60 games he had 69 RBIs and 14 home runs.
Brett missed another 10 days in early September and hit just .290 for the month. His average was at .400 as late as September 19, but he then had a 4 for 27 slump, and the average dipped to .384 on September 27, with a week to play. For the final week, Brett went 10-for-19, which included going 2 for 4 in the final regular season game on October 4. His season average ended up at .390 (175 hits in 449 at-bats = .389755), and he averaged more than one RBI per game. Brett was the first major league player since 1950 to have more than one RBI per game (90 or more RBIs). Brett led the league in both on-base percentage (.454) and slugging percentage (.664) on his way to capturing 17 of 28 possible first-place votes in the MVP race. Since Al Simmons also batted .390 in 1931 for the Philadelphia Athletics, the only higher averages subsequent to 1931 were by Ted Williams of the Red Sox (.406 in 1941) and Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres (.394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season).
More importantly, the Royals won the American League West, and would face the Eastern champion Yankees in the ALCS.
 1980 post-season
In the 1980 post-season, Brett led the Royals to their first American League pennant, sweeping the playoffs in three games from the rival Yankees who had beaten K.C. in the 1976, 1977 and 1978 playoffs. In Game 3, Brett hit a ball well into the third deck of Yankee Stadium off of Yankees closer Goose Gossage. Gossage's previous pitch had been timed at 97 mph, leading ABC broadcaster Jim Palmer to say, "I doubt if he threw that ball 97 miles an hour." A moment later Palmer was given the actual reading of 98. "Well, I said it wasn't 97." Brett then hit .375 in the 1980 World Series, but the Royals lost in six games to the Philadelphia Phillies. During the Series, Brett made headlines after leaving Game 2 in the 6th inning due to hemorrhoid pain. Brett had minor surgery the next day, and in Game 3 returned to hit a home run as the Royals won in 10 innings 4-3. After the game, Brett was famously quoted "...my problems are all behind me." In 1981 he missed two weeks of Spring training to have his hemorrhoids removed.
 The Pine Tar Incident
The baseball bat
used by George Brett
in the Pine Tar Incident on July 24, 1983.
On July 24, 1983, the Royals played the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the ninth inning with two out, Brett hit a two-run homer to put the Royals up 5–4. Upon Brett crossing the plate, Yankees manager Billy Martin cited to the umpires a rule that stated that any foreign substance on a bat could extend no further than 18 inches from the knob. The umpires measured the amount of pine tar, a legal substance used by hitters to improve their grip, on Brett's bat; the pine tar extended about 24 inches. The home plate umpire, Tim McClelland, signaled the player out, ending the game as a Yankees win. An angry Brett charged out of the dugout and was immediately ejected. The Royals protested the game, and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld the protest, reasoning that the bat should have been excluded from future use but the home run should not have been nullified. Amid much controversy, the game was resumed on August 18 from the point of Brett's home run and ended with a Royals win.
In 1985, Brett had another brilliant season in which he helped propel the Royals to their second American League Championship. He batted .335 with 30 home runs and 112 RBI, finishing in the top 10 of the league in 10 different offensive categories. Defensively, he won his only Gold Glove. In the final week of the regular season, he went 9-for-20 at the plate with 7 runs, 5 homers, and 9 RBI in six crucial games, five of them victories, as the Royals closed a gap and won the division title at the end. He was MVP of the 1985 playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays, with an incredible Game 3. With KC down in the series two games to none, Brett went 4-for-4, homering in his first two at bats against Doyle Alexander, and doubled to the same spot in right field in his third at bat, leading the Royals comeback. Brett then batted .370 in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals including a four-hit performance in Game 7. The Royals again rallied from a 3–1 deficit to become World Series Champions for the only time in Royals history.
 Later career
In 1988, Brett moved across the diamond to first base in an effort to reduce his chances of injury and had another top-notch season with a .306 average, 24 homers and 104 RBI. But after batting just .290 with 16 homers the next year, it looked like his career might be slowing down. He got off to a terrible start in 1990 and at one point even considered retirement. But his manager, former teammate John Wathan, encouraged him to stick it out. Finally, in July, the slump ended and Brett batted .386 for the rest of the season. In September, he caught Rickey Henderson for the league lead, and in a battle down to the last day of the season, captured his third batting title with a .329 mark. This feat made Brett the only major league player to win batting titles in three different decades.
Brett played three more seasons for the Royals, mostly as their designated hitter, but occasionally filling in for injured teammates at first base. He passed the 3,000-hit mark in 1992, though he was picked off by Angel first baseman Gary Gaetti after stepping off the base to start enjoying the moment. Brett retired after the 1993 season; in his final at-bat, he hit a single up the middle against Rangers closer Tom Henke and scored on a home run by now teammate Gaetti.
Brett's #5 was retired by the Royals on April 7, 1997. His number was the second number retired in Royals history, preceded by former Royals manager, the late Dick Howser (#10), in 1987. It was followed by second baseman and longtime teammate Frank White's #20 in 1998.
He was voted the Hometown Hero for the Royals in a two-month fan vote. This was revealed on the night of September 27, 2006 in an hour-long telecast on ESPN. He was one of the few players to receive more than 400,000 votes.
His 3,154 career hits (2,044 hits actually as a third baseman, with Wade Boggs at 2,788 at the position according to www.baseball-reference.com, are the second most by any third baseman in major league history), and 15th all-time. Baseball historian Bill James regards him as the second-best third baseman of all time, trailing only his contemporary, Mike Schmidt. Brett was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, with what was then the fourth-highest voting percentage in baseball history (98.2%), trailing only Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Ty Cobb. In 2007, Cal Ripken Jr. passed Brett with 98.5% of the vote. His voting percentage was higher than all-time outfielders Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio. That same year, he ranked Number 55 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Brett is one of four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average (the others are Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron). Most indicative of his hitting style, Brett is sixth on the career doubles list, with 665 (trailing Tris Speaker, Pete Rose, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, and Craig Biggio). Combining his superior hitting skill with his great defensive ability and team focus (and humility), George Brett is arguably one of the most complete baseball players of all time.
 Post baseball activities
Following the end of his baseball career, Brett became a vice president of the Royals and has worked as a part-time coach, as a special instructor in spring training, filling in as the batting coach, and as a minor league instructor dispatched to help prospects develop. He also runs a baseball equipment and foam-hand company, Brett Bros., with Bobby and, until his death, Ken Brett. He has also lent his name to a restaurant that failed on the Country Club Plaza.
In 1992, Brett married the former Leslie Davenport and they currently reside in the Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills, Kansas. The couple has three children: Jackson (named after his father), Dylan (named after Bob Dylan), and Robin (named after fellow Hall of Famer Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers).
Brett has also continued to raise money for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Brett started to raise money for the Keith Worthington Chapter during his playing career in the mid 1980s.
 Team Ownership
In 1998, an investor group headed by Brett and his older brother, Bobby, made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the Kansas City Royals. Brett is the principal owner of the Tri-City Dust Devils, the Single-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. He and his brother Bobby also co-own the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, a Los Angeles Dodgers Single-A partner, and lead ownership groups that control the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, the West Coast League's Bellingham Bells, and the High Desert Mavericks of the California League.
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