The success of Barry Bonds‘ baseball career was really just the beginning of a story that may eventually overshadow his achievements. As an outfielder, Bonds racked up four MVP awards, each one of them in consecutive years. He was a player in the 2007 World Series, and has become one of the most well known baseball players of his time. In 2006, he was busy slugging homeruns and passed Ruth and Aaron to land in first place for the most homers of any ball player.
Sadly, there may be an asterisk next to all of these records. Bonds has admitted to steroid usage (although he denies having willingly or knowingly taken the drug), something which was long rumored. Bonds did not exactly have a rapport with the fans, despite his performance on the diamond. Many hated him and he gladly returned the favor. Bonds burned so many bridges that no team was willing to sign him on for the 2008 season (and he has no contracts lined up for the 2009 season at the time of this writing), despite his holding the record for career home runs at 762 and most home runs in a single season at 73.
Having already broken many records and his financial future in no doubt, Bonds was investigated in relation to his steroid use as part of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative case and has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for lying about his use of steroids.
This case has cast a shadow over his entire career in the sport. The validity of his awards and records have been called into question by fans and the administrative body governing the sport alike.
A pall has been thrown over a career in baseball which began in high school, when Bonds was courted by the Giants while still a senior. He did not end up signing on with the Giants, choosing to pursue a college education. Bonds played in college as well, where in a single year he scored seven hits in a row in the College World Series and was picked as All American selection of the year by the publication Sporting News.
Barry Bonds is still facing obstruction of justice charges that will not be heard in court until March of 2009. The federal prosecutor had submitted paperwork with a typo, alleging that the steroid use, which Bonds still argues he did not take knowingly, was tested for, and found positive in 2001 rather than the year 2000. This year makes a difference due to testing laws that were not implemented until a later date.
Bonds has been spending his time away from the diamond by working with children’s hospitals, a public service which has comforted many sick and even terminally ill children. Bonds holds an honorary chairmanship from the Macy’s Tree Lighting committee – this committee raises money for UCSF Children’s Hospital Palliative Care Program, a children’s hospice.