Is Barry Bonds the “Home Run King” of baseball? Barry Bonds stats don’t lie, but the stats can be called “tainted”. Let’s do a comparison between stats before and during the steroid era and see if he should be the “Home Run King”.
Barry Bonds Stats: Before the Steroid Era
Barry Bonds started his MLB career with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization back in 1986. During that year, he led all rookies with 16 home runs, 48 RBIs, 36 stolen bases, and 65 walks.
During the start of his career, Bonds was predominantly a leadoff hitter. He had a medium shape which gave him great speed. The speedster looked more like a stolen base threat than the most dangerous home run hitter in the world. In Bonds’ second season, he hit 25 home runs with 59 RBIs and 32 stolen bases. In his era, these stats are very solid. With the next two seasons, Bonds would continue to hit the ball well and steal bases along the way.
In 1990, the news about how good Barry Bonds was hitting big-time media. This was his first All-Star season as he cranked out 33 home runs, 114 RBIs, and 52 stolen bases. At this juncture of his career, he started to see the long ball be apart of his game but could steal bases at the same time.
Barry Bond’s stats started to rise but not till he started playing with the San Francisco Giants in 1993. Once he made it to San Francisco, Bonds’ body took on a huge transformation. He took on a huge amount of muscle mass and his stature was getting freakish. By the time the MLB steroid era started in 1998, Barry Bonds already established himself as an elite home run hitter. From 1986 to 1998, Barry Bonds collected 411 home runs. Before the steroid era, the world knew Bonds would collect 500 homers by the end of his career. Little did we know, his freakish strength would bring the MLB world to his knees.
Barry Bonds Stats: Steroid Era
As a baseball player reaches his mid-30s, retirement starts to approach. Instead of contemplating retirement, Bonds went on a home run war with two other juicers for the next eight years. From that point on, Barry Bonds stats only grew from there.
His good friends, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled Bonds in a race to see who could beat the all-time single-season home-run record. In 2001, all three players beat Roger Maris‘ record that stood at 61, and Barry Bonds destroyed the record with 73 home runs. Before 2001, Barry Bonds already hit over 500 home runs so after the juiced 73 home runs, now the world thinks he could beat Hank Aaron‘s all-time home run record.
In 2007, the Barry Bonds stats reached epic proportions. From 2002 to 2004, Bonds hit 136 homers. By the end of 2007 and by the end of his career, Barry Bonds became the best long ball hitter of all time.
Barry Bonds Stats: Takeaways
As the stats showed, Barry Bonds was a very prolific home run hitter before the steroid era. Once he hit the mid-30s he needed extra enhancements to continue on his journey of legend status.
In 2007, Barry Bonds was a predominant figure in the steroid scandal. He was led to believe by his trainer that he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis cream. Instead, he was taking performance-enhancing drugs which could easily help him with his power-hitting.
So the question is still up for debate, is Barry Bonds the “Home Run King”? Or is his 762 tainted? Without steroids, there is no physical way he could reach the pinnacle he reached. He was already starting to feel the effects of getting older. At the time, Major League Baseball did nothing to stop this due to the fact the steroid era could have very well saved baseball.
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