The battle for immortality
Keegan Godwin (TheLorian)
7-time MVP. 2935 hits. .298 batting average. Most intentional walks in MLB history. Most home runs ever hit in an MLB season. Most home runs hit in MLB history. These are just the highlights of Barry Bonds’ resume.
After being drafted 6th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985, Bonds debuted in 1986 as a left fielder. He struggled (for his standards) as a rookie, only batting .223 and racking up a career-high 102 strikeouts. Baseball is a game of patience. For some people, it takes years to develop their craft. Some people simply never figure theirs out. For Bonds, however, it took him only four years. In 1990, Bonds took his game to the next level. Bonds was an all-star, a gold glover, a silver slugger, and won his NL MVP award. Between the 1990 season and the 1993 season, Bonds would win three total MVP awards, cementing himself as a true superstar in the league.
In 1993, Bonds signed a historic deal with the San Francisco Giants, worth $43.75 million over a six-year term. Between 1993 and 2000, Bonds would continue his elite reign over the league. He would be selected to six all-star games, four more gold glove awards, and four more silver slugger awards. Despite all of this success, and being 35 years old, Bonds was still not even at his peak.
Between 2001 and 2004, Barry Bonds cemented his position as the greatest baseball player to ever live. In 2001, Bonds was eons above every other player. He hit 73 home runs that season, the most ever in an MLB season, a record that still stands to this day. In 2002, he batted .370. Let me say that again. Barry Bonds played 143 games and batted .370. Bonds would win four MVP awards in a row between 2001 and 2004, becoming the greatest baseball player ever.
In 2007, at the age of 42, Bonds knew his career was going to end soon. He had suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2005, and the risk of re-injuring it was extremely high. However, despite all of his success, Bonds was still chasing one more accolade: the all-time home run record. The record was held by Hank Aaron, hitting an amazing 755 home runs in his career. On Aug. 7th, 2007, Bonds was tied with Aaron’s record of 755. The sold-out crowd at AT&T Park watched and waited for Bonds to break the record. And then, on a 3-2 pitch from Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik, Bonds crushed the ball 435 feet. Bonds stood alone.
With all of his success, however, there was controversy. Barry Bonds was accused of using PEDs in 2003. The controversy is extremely long and complicated and is an entire paper on its own. The important details are that Bonds never failed an MLB drug test and the PEDs he was accused of using were not banned by the MLB until 2005. Bonds never admitted to cheating, but that does not mean he is 100 percent innocent. Bonds’ resume, even if you remove the four years of suspected abuse, is still Hall of Fame worthy. It is worth mentioning that the MLB Hall of Fame is riddled with people who have cheated in worse ways than Bonds. That does not mean cheating is right, but it is questionable why those members were allowed to be inducted? If the MLB is making a statement by not allowing Bonds to enter the Hall of Fame, then there needs to be a standard that is accepted and used throughout time.