Barry Bonds has been regarded by many as one of the greatest sports icons. Though he bettered the record of Hank Aaron’s all-time Major League baseball record of 755 on August 7th, 2007 with ease, went on to become a legend, and will be spoken of for years to come, his link-ups to anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs have actually damaged the reputation of baseball like never before.

 The American former Major League Baseball outfielder was born on July 24, 1964 and played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. Son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds, Barry Lamar Bonds debuted in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 30, 1986 and joined the San Francisco Giants in 1993. Barry, a 14-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove-winner, made his last MLB appearance on September 26, 2007 for the San Francisco Giants.

Barry Bonds holds many Major League Baseball records that include the all-time Major League Baseball home run record with 762 and the single-season Major League record for home runs with 73 in the year 2001. He is the only player to hit at least 500 home runs (762) and stolen 500 bases (514) and one of the four all-time players (besides José Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano) to be in the 40-40 club, which means he hit 40 home runs (42) and stole 40 bases (40) in the same season (1996). In the year 2002, he became the oldest player at 38 years to win the National League batting title (.370) for the first time. He has also won eight Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence and earned seven National League Most Valuable Player awards, with Pittsburgh Pirates in 1990 and 1992, and with San Francisco Giants in 1993 and four years straight between 2001 and 2004.

Bonds was first associated with steroids and performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) because of the BALCO scandal where he was charged with obstruction of justice and perjury while testifying in the BALCO affair. Court documents suggested that Barry Bonds took anabolics and it was further revealed that three types of performance enhancing substances were used by the baseball slugger. During a trial, trainer of Bonds since 2000, Greg Anderson of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) was accused of supplying steroids to a number of baseball players and it was contended in the leaked grand-jury testimony of Bonds that he used “the cream” and “the clear”. Bonds later said he used what he thought was a cream for easing muscle aches and flaxseed oil. According to records prosecutors took from BALCO, the baseball slugger tested positive on three separate occasions in 2000 and 2001 for the steroid Methenolone and also tested positive two of those three times for the steroid nandrolone.

A letter from baseball commissioner Bud Selig to Bonds also informed him about a positive test and suggested that he would be subjected to six more tests over a period of one year.

 In the book Game of Shadows, written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada in March 2006, it was alleged that Barry Bonds made use of Stanozolol (Winstrol) and many other steroids. The authors said Bonds was making use of two designer steroids called the “cream” and the “clear” along with insulin, human growth hormone, testosterone decanoate, and trenbolone.  The cream is believed to be a testosterone-based substance reportedly given to Bonds by Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (BALCO) while the clear is believed to be Norbolethone or THG that was used by many of the top Olympic sprinters like former 100-meter world record-holder Tim Montgomery.

Kimberly Bell, who says she dated Bonds for nine years, told the jury in the perjury trial of Bonds that Barry blamed a career-threatening elbow injury in 1999 on his steroid use. Kimberly said Bonds became increasingly angry and controlling and even underwent “changes sexually and in his testicles.”

 

All said and done, the contributions of Barry Bonds to baseball cannot be nullified unless the law of the land finds him guilty and till that time, it is best to stop accusing him any more. With 2,558 career walks and 688 career intentional walks and many more records at his side, his accomplishments are here to stay till charges are found correct.