This timely book strips away the hype and takes an objective look and Bonds' life and career. It has been said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in professional sports. Baseball's All-Time Greatest Hitters presents biographies on Greenwood's selection for the 12 best hitters in Major League history, written by some of today's best baseball authors.
These books present straightforward stories in accessible language for the high school researcher and the general reader alike. Each volume includes a timeline, bibliography, and index.
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In addition, each volume includes a Making of a Legend chapter that analyses the evolution of the player's fame and in some cases infamy. But then things changed. For example, in he finished 12th in the voting, when WAR wins above replacement suggest that he was the second best player in the league, behind Greg Maddux who finished third in the MVP balloting. Unless he was having a truly dominant season, it seemed, voters were not giving him the benefit of the doubt. In Bonds became just the second player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season.
Jose Canseco in had been the first. Bonds accomplished the feat five times, matching his father, Bobby, as the only two players to have five seasons. On three other occasions Barry was close, each time having enough home runs but twice finishing with 29 steals and once with The Giants spent the next few years struggling, but setting things up for a run from to in which they finished first or second in their division each year.
In Bonds got one of the ultimate honors: being intentionally walked with the bases loaded, just the fifth time that had ever happened in the major leagues, and the first since The next batter lined out to end the game. This was a huge sign of respect for Bonds, and intentionally walking him albeit without the bases loaded was a trend that would grow to historic proportions.
Bonds was a very private person, not letting many people into his inner circle even when he was a child. Stories abound about his social interaction, both with teammates and others.
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He reportedly did things in private for many people, not wanting any publicity about them. Other reports talk of him yelling at youngsters seeking his autograph. His attempts at humor often fell flat, tending to insult others, and when others played pranks on Bonds, he tended to take it as an insult. Bobby had instilled the idea that the media would raise you up when they wanted to and tear you down when they were done with you, and Barry took it to heart. He regularly had people in the locker room protecting him from reporters trying to approach, and would often blow off prearranged meetings or interviews.
All these stories paint a picture of a lonely man, one with a desperate need to be loved and admired for his performance but unable to open up and let others in and see beyond the player. Bonds was admired for his feats, but never loved by fans around the league like his contemporaries, people like Ken Griffey Jr. Bonds had divorced Sun in , and married Liz Watson in They had known each other since before Barry married Sun, a friendship that Sun was not happy about.
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But Bonds had another life on the road, spending many road trips in the company of a girlfriend, Kimberley Bell. That affair would become public knowledge in , causing Bonds much trouble both personally and in legal matters. Bonds had a son, Nikolai, in and a daughter, Shikari, in with Sun. The children did not spend much time with him, living with their mother after they divorced.
They would spend a couple of weeks during the summer with their father, but were never close. Bonds had another daughter, Aisha, in with Liz. He and Liz separated a couple of times, then divorced in After the season things changed for Bonds. Bonds always wanted to be in the limelight.
He changed himself and achieved a new level of greatness because of this. Some say it was a strong work ethic that brought him through. Many others allege he did it illegally, that this was the period when he began using performance-enhancing drugs PEDs to boost himself to new heights. In the winter following the season, Bonds began working with a trainer called Greg Anderson. Anderson was a low-level steroids user and dealer, hanging out in local gyms. Bonds began exercising with him, lifting weights and working out in an intense fashion.
Anderson also introduced him to various steroids, which Bonds took on a regular basis. He showed up in spring training in having put on a lot of muscle weight.
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He required surgery and eventually missed a third of the season. Bonds set a career high for home runs in , with 49, but that was just a warmup. The season began with an Opening Day home run, followed shortly by six straight games with home runs. In May he hit nine home runs in six games, including three in a game in Atlanta.
Bonds passed his own career high on August 11 with his 50th home run of the season, and kept on going. He had 63 home runs on September 11, when events at the World Trade Center shocked the world and put baseball on hold.
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Bonds resumed hitting home runs, and was up to 69 with a week left in the season, when the Giants went to Houston for a three-game series. The Astros were fighting for a playoff spot, and were determined to not let Bonds beat them. They pitched around him all series long, to the ire of their own fans, who had filled the park in expectation. Bonds homered off Wilfredo Rodriguez to tie McGwire for the single-season record. Back at home against the Dodgers the next day, Bonds took care of things quickly, homering in the first and third innings off Chan Ho Park to break the record, and adding another on the last day of the season to set the single-season record at With his age and related injuries — a painful degenerative disk in his back — no one expected that he would be playing by the end of the contract.
By now Bonds was feared, perhaps the most dangerous hitter of all time. Teams would rather put Bonds on base and take their chances with anyone else. The Giants reaped the reward, Bonds scoring over runs for them every season from through except for strike-shortened and injury-shortened Because of all the walks, he usually ended up scoring more runs than he drove in, a factor in his winning just one RBI title, in Bonds was well rewarded for his performances in the early s.
It is reasonable to say that Kent benefited from hitting behind Bonds in the lineup, and by most advanced statistical measures Bonds was the better player WAR of 7. Later that year, he was suspended from baseball for testing positive for steroids.
He maintains to this day he has never knowingly taken performance enhancers. Louis Cardinals, breaking the single-season home run record in In , he admitted using steroids over the course of a decade but told Bob Costas in an interview he took them only for health reasons.
John Rocker: Outrageous comments — John Rocker's pitching career with the Atlanta Braves only lasted a few seasons because of his offensive comments about homosexuals, New Yorkers, Asian women and a black teammate in a Sports Illustrated article. Rocker faced large backlash and ultimately was cut by the Braves in and played for three other teams before calling it quits in Marge Schott: Hitler observation — Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott faced lawsuits, fines from the MLB and suspensions during her career for her offhand comments and actions.
George Steinbrenner: Dirty dealings — Former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, center, was banned for life in for hiring a man to investigate Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield's background for any dirt. The ban was later reduced to a two-year suspension. Pete Rose: Gambling on baseball — Cincinnati Reds switch-hitter Pete Rose was caught gambling on baseball games during the season. Fingerprints from betting slips and a handwriting expert's testimony ultimately led to Rose being banned from baseball.
Darryl Strawberry: Cocaine, prostitutes — Darryl Strawberry, right, was suspended multiple times throughout his career for cocaine possession and soliciting prostitutes. Strawberry released a book in which he claims that several players with the s Mets committed the same offenses. Ferguson Jenkins: First drug suspension — Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was the first baseball player to be suspended for a drug-related offense.
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Ferguson was arrested in Toronto in for cocaine possession and promptly banned for life. However, the ban was lifted only a month later and he returned to the pitchers mound for the Chicago Cubs in Eight Chicago White Sox players were allegedly bribed to throw the game with money provided by Rothstein. He denied all allegations before a grand jury and was later exonerated of any wrongdoing.
All eight players involved in the fix were banned for life. Education: Attended Arizona State University, Other Facts: Holds the major league baseball career home run record with Has broken multiple records in Major League Baseball including winning 12 Silver Slugger awards, most career walks, and most intentional walks. December 4, - Bonds testifies to a grand jury that he had used a substance given to him by a trainer accused of distributing steroids, but that he Bonds did not know they were steroids.
July 4, - Becomes the all-time leader in walks with 2,