Barry Bonds : biography
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, the Cincinnati Reds (whose last post-season berth had also been in 1979; they lost to the Pirates in that year’s NLCS) defeated the Pirates in the NLCS en route to winning the World Championship. 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 Pirates slugging outfield of Bonds, Bonilla and Van Slyke performed miserably in the 1990 and 1991 playoffs hitting .190 in 1990 (12 for 63) and .200 in 1991 (15 for 75). The next season, Bonds won his second MVP award. While hitting .311 with 34 homers and 103 RBIs, he propelled 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 participated in the final play of Game 7 of the NLCS, whereby 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. Following the loss, Bonds and star teammate Doug Drabek were expected to command salaries too high for Pittsburgh to again sign them.
San Francisco Giants (1993–2007)
In 1993, Bonds left the Pirates to sign a lucrative free agent contract worth a then-record $43.75 million ($ million today) over 6 years with the Giants, with whom his father had 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. Once he signed with the Giants, Bonds had intended to wear 24, his number during most of his stay with the Pirates, and after receiving Mays’ blessing the Giants were willing to unretire it until the public commotion from fans and media became too much. To honor his father, Bonds switched his jersey number to 25, as it had been Bobby’s number in San Francisco. 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 lockout-shortened season of , Bonds hit .312 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 74 walks, and he finished 4th in MVP voting.
In , Bonds hit 33 homers and drove in 104 runs, hitting .294 but finished only 12th in MVP voting. In 1994, he appeared in a small role as himself in the television film Jane’s House, starring James Woods and Anne Archer.
In , 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.