Barry Lamar Bonds (born July 24, 1964 in Riverside, California) is a professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants. He is generally considered, by both the casual fan and those who view baseball throught the prism of sabermetrics, as one of the three greatest hitters of all time, the others being Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
The son of former all-star Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds graduated from Serra High School in 1982 (San Mateo, California) excelling in baseball, basketball and football. Although he was originally drafted in 1982 by the San Francisco Giants, Bonds chose to go to college before pursuing professional baseball. He played college baseball at Arizona State University. After graduating, Barry Bonds began his Major League career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1993 he returned home to California to join the San Francisco Giants.
Teammate Shawon Dunston, speaking of Bonds in the June 5, 2000 issue of Sports Illustrated, said of Bonds: "He's not going to hit 70 homers, but he believes he can. That's frightening." The very next year, Bonds set the single season home run record, hitting 73 (breaking the record of 70, set by Mark McGwire in 1998). Some analysts consider Bonds's 2001 season to be among the greatest hitting seasons in baseball history; in addition to the home run record, Bonds also set single-season marks for bases on balls with 177 (breaking the previous record of 170, set by Babe Ruth in 1923) and slugging percentage with .863 (breaking the mark of .847 set by Ruth in 1920). Bonds also tied the National League record for most extra base hits in a season (107, also accomplished by Chuck Klein in 1930). In 2002, all eyes were on Bonds, as opposing pitchers refused to give him as many balls to hit. As a result, a repeat of 73 homers was impossible, but he still won the National League batting title with a .370 average, set a Major League record with a .582 on-base percentage (breaking Ted Williams' record of .551, set in 1941), and broke his own record for walks, with 198. He became the oldest player to win a batting title for the first time in a career.
Bonds has been voted the National League's Most Valuable Player six times, in 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, and 2003. He is the first player in MLB history to be MVP in three consecutive years, and no other player has won the award more than three times. He was second in the voting for that award twice: in 1991 to Terry Pendleton of the Atlanta Braves, and in 2000 to teammate Jeff Kent. During the 2002 season, Bonds became the fourth man to hit 600 home runs and he ended the season with 613, fourth on the all-time list. He also hit .370, to win his first batting title, and drew 198 walks, beating his own record -- feats which saw him unanimously voted the 2002 MVP.
Bonds has won eight Gold Glove awards as an outfielder, which is the third most ever for that position. He has been named to 12 National League All-Star teams: 1990, 1992-1998, 2000-2003.
His father, Bobby Bonds, was also a professional baseball player. Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays is his godfather. Another Baseball Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson, is his cousin.
Bonds became the first ever 400-400 player (400 home runs and 400 stolen bases) on August 23, 1998, when he hit home run number 400 off of Florida's Kirt Ojala. He stole his 400th base on July 26, 1997 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Candlestick Park. On June 23, 2003, Bonds recorded his 500th stolen base in the eleventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Pacific Bell Park (now SBC Park). Bonds later scored the winning run. By chance, his ailing father Bobby was in attendance that night. With 633 career home runs at the time, Bonds became the first 500-500 player in baseball history, already the only member of the 400-400 club. In addition, in 1996 Bonds became the second of the three current members of the so called 40-40 club: 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season. The other two members are Jose Canseco and Alex Rodriguez
Bonds is among the power hitters who "crowd the plate": standing in such a way that his body is almost over the plate (and thus in the strike zone), forcing pitchers to throw low and outside, while some umpires perceived the strike zone as shifted outside due to the batter's position. Because of Bonds and others like Mo Vaughn, in 2001 the MLBA instructed umpires to call a slightly different strike zone, calling more high inside pitches strikes. The new regulations also banned hitters from using hard protective gear, which was letting them get closer to the plate.
In 2004 Bonds became embroiled in a scandal when Greg F. Anderson of the Bay Area Lab Cooperative, Bonds' trainer since 2000, was indicted by a federal Grand Jury, and charged with supplying anabolic steroids to athletes, including a number of unnamed baseball players. This led to inevitable speculation that Bonds had used performance enhancing drugs during a time when there was no mandatory testing in Major League Baseball. Bonds protested his innocence, attributing his changed physique and increased power to a regime of body building and legitimate dietary supplements.
On April 12, 2004, Bonds hit his 660th home run, tying him with his godfather Willie Mays for 3rd on the all-time career home run list in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Giants' home, SBC Park. Larry Ellison (not the CEO of Oracle Corporation) caught the home run and returned it to Barry. He hit his 661st home run the next day, April 13, at the same venue placing him in outright third behind Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755). Ellison again caught number 661, but kept it for himself with Barry's blessing. (Ellison was in a kayak in McCovey Cove, an arm of San Francisco Bay that lies behind the right-field stands at SBC Park, so this wasn't quite the amazing coincidence it appears at first sight.)
On July 4, 2004, Bonds passed Rickey Henderson to take the lead in career walks, with his 2191st walk.
Bonds was tagged out by Mickey Morandini on September 20, 1992, to complete the major leagues' first unassisted triple play in 24 years.