Barry Bonds : biography
Bonds batted .322 with 8 home runs, 16 RBI, and 27 walks in the postseason en route to the 2002 World Series where the Giants eventually lost the series to the Anaheim Angels.
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 Éric Gagné in the 11th inning of a tied ball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers (against whom Bonds had tallied his 500th home run). 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.
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 a 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.