At 8:51 pm Tuesday August 7, 2007, Barry Bonds became the all-time home run leader with 756. The most polarizing figure in the history of sports and also the best baseball player to ever put on a uniform, Bonds will in all likelihood be remembered only negatively. If you donít live in the Bay Area, you probably donít root for Bonds, and in fact, you likely despise him. Records are sacred, and they shouldnít be broken by someone who shot a substance into his body for 2-3 years and is generally a detestable human being. Preferably, the home run record would be kept by someone who never hit 50 in one season.
Bonds is more oblivious to how he comes across in the media than most give him credit for. Show me one person who is the same in front of cameras as when away, and Iíll show you 1,000 who are not. What you see is what you get with Bonds; unlike an Alex Rodriguez, who panders to the media. But Bonds is this way to a fault; always thinking someone is out to get him. He might be right about the ulterior motives, but Bonds simply comes across as crass and to put it simply, unlikable. I donít blame the media for creating Bondsí image; itís all on him. But how that reflects in how you view him as a baseball player is 100 percent on you.
Bonds has almost certainly done steroids. You donít need me to tell you a very high percentage of baseball players during this era have done the same, including pitchers, or that Gaylord Perry used a Vaseline ball, or that Babe Ruth competed in a segregated era, or a million other things neither you nor I know about. We are living in the ďsteroids era,Ē folks, and Bonds is the obvious choice to single out.
When on the diamond, itís pretty hard to argue against this: Bonds is first in MLB history in home runs, walks, intentional walks, third in runs scored and fourth in RBI. Heís won seven MVP awards (by far the most by any single player in the history of the game), only because the voters mistakenly had him finishing second in 1991 and 2000. In 2004, he was intentionally walked 120 times. 120. Heís won eight Gold Gloves. Heís the only player in the history of the game with both 500 homers and 500 stolen bases. He holds the single-season HR record with 73. Heís been to 14 All-Star games. Itís only a matter of time before he reaches 2,000 RBI and 3,000 hits (he's 19 and 85 away, respectively). And when he does, he'll become only the second player in baseball history other than Aaron to collect more than 700 homers, 2,000 RBI and 3,000 base hits. Bonds' 71 multi-homer games are second only to Ruth, who had 72.
Since 2001, Bonds has hit a HR every 8.8 ABs. He does so while seeing approximately 1-5 pitches within a foot of the strike zone per game. From 2001-2005, Bondsí OPSs read like this Ė 1.379, 1.381, 1.278 and 1.422. In 2004, he reached base 60.9 percent of the time and had a K:BB ratio of 41:232. Out of the five greatest seasons a hitter has ever had in major league baseball history, Bonds has four of them (Ruthís 1921 season was pretty ridiculous). He has the two highest single season on base percentages ever recorded and 3 of the top 5. He has the highest single season slugging percentage ever recorded and 3 of the top 5. He has the highest single season OPS ever recorded and 3 of the top 4.
Many people will argue why they donít believe Bonds is the best baseball player ever, and it will have nothing to do with his numbers.