Barry Bonds is considered to be the best baseball player to ever step on the diamond field and rightfully so. The numbers speak for themselves, 762 home runs, a .298 batting average, 1,996 RBI, 2,935 hits are all legendary numbers, and will result in anyone getting to the Hall of Fame in the first year of their eligibility.
But when Barry Bonds became eligible for Hall of Fame in 2013, he wasn’t even able to get half the votes required to get himself inducted in Cooperstown. There was a wide divide among players already inducted into the Hall and also the people who voted the players in, and the reason for the divided was the player’s use of anabolic steroids to enhance his performance on the field.
Watch: Barry Bonds breaks the all time home run record of the MLB
Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids, and this is the reason why most of his records are tainted now, and baseball fans are divided on whether he deserves to be considered one of the greats in baseball. The thing is, no matter what he did, no one will be able to erase all the numbers the player put up, but there is also an unfair advantage for the player because of how strong he got from using steroids.
Barry Bonds Before Steroids
Barry Bonds was a great player before he even took a single drop of steroids by 1998; the player recorded .290 average with 411 home runs, so he was more than exceptional at that point of his career. On a career trajectory to become one of the greatest, he was getting the numbers, and people were afraid to even pitch to him.
Barry was intentionally walked in 1998 by Arizona Diamondbacks when the bases were loaded in the bottom of the ninth because the team decided they would rather give one run and take the chances with next batter up, then allow Barry to hit one out of the park and the teams scoring four runs and winning the game.
Barry Bonds, before and after steroids comparison picture. Source: Taylor Dillks
This is how much the teams were scared of the player, but nothing lasts forever, and there was something of a slowing down of Barry around the late 90s as he started to see other players hit home runs after home runs, and they were nipping at his heels. This was around the time when steroid use was prevalent in the game of baseball; some of the strongest hitters were using the drug to get them even more strength and stay relevant.
But steroid use is banned in most of all the sports, and the players were using various drugs which could be hidden from the drug testing. Well, it worked for a while, but cheating will be caught one way or the other in the end, and Barry was the forefront of the trial involving the use of steroids in professional sports.
Barry Bonds After Steroids
Barry Bonds after steroid use was a monster on the field. Source: Slate
For people who are not familiar with steroids, it is a drug, which allows the user to build muscles quicker, and as long as they are using the drug in a cycle, they can retain the growth. What steroid does is it breaks the muscle tissues on top, and new muscles build on top, instead of the normal way where the belly of the muscle needs to be broken for new tissues to rebuild and there was growth in the muscle.
Steroids also allow the user to last longer in the gym, feel less fatigue, and recover quickly after the workout. So, yes, there is an unfair advantage to players who take the drug because they are stronger and can recover quickly. In professional baseball, where you need to travel all the time and play consecutive games back to back, quick recovery is the key to playing well, and Barry Bonds was making the most of his steroid use.
Watch: Professional athletes are not willing to see Barry Bonds as a Hall of Famer
By 2002 Barry appeared huge, with massive biceps and amazing strength, which allowed him to hit the ball out of the park and do it all over the next day and the next week. It was unprecedented and freaky, but the whole thing was contributed to the player’s immense talent until 2003 when the BALCO scandal hit, and Barry was the center of the investigation as the player perjured himself during the grand-jury testimony.
Greg Anderson, Barry’s personal strength trainer, reportedly gave the player steroids, and when asked by the grand jury, Barry said he used a balm, and what he was told was organic oils, but instead it turned out to be steroids, seemingly throwing his trainer under the bus. Well, the truth came out, and the most recent use of steroids by the player was recorded in 1998, and after the year, almost all his achievement is tainted by the drug use.