by Denise I Smithson
While Barry Bonds is known as an incredible baseball player, it is other things about him which may eventually be what he is remembered for. Bonds won four MVP awards as an outfielder, four years in a row. He played in the 2007 World Series and is one of the most widely known players in the sport. In 2006, he surpassed even Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in home runs.
Sadly, there may be an asterisk next to all of these records. Bonds has admitted to steroid usage (although he denies having willingly or knowingly taken the drug), something which was long rumored. Bonds did not exactly have a rapport with the fans, despite his performance on the diamond. Many hated him and he gladly returned the favor. Bonds burned so many bridges that no team was willing to sign him on for the 2008 season (and he has no contracts lined up for the 2009 season at the time of this writing), despite his holding the record for career home runs at 762 and most home runs in a single season at 73.
With an accomplished career and his financial security already assured, Bonds became a target of investigation in connection to the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative case and was charged with perjury for having lied about his steroid use.
This has cast a pall over his entire career. Fans questioned the validity of his MVP awards and his achievements within the game - and the league itself has also expressed concern. Achievements which came through the use of steroids, the reasoning goes, are not to be valued as highly as those accomplished solely through an athlete's natural faculties.
This overshadowed an impressive baseball career that started out in high school. As he was finishing his final term in high school, Bonds was approached by the Giants. As he finished his high school career, the negotiations between Bonds and the Giants were not going as well as projected, and college seemed like a better choice. He continued to play baseball in college and excelled during this time, including seven consecutive hits during the College World Series. He was then named the All American selection that year by Sporting News.
Barry Bonds is still facing obstruction of justice charges that will not be heard in court until March of 2009. The federal prosecutor had submitted paperwork with a typo, alleging that the steroid use, which Bonds still argues he did not take knowingly, was tested for, and found positive in 2001 rather than the year 2000. This year makes a difference due to testing laws that were not implemented until a later date.
Off the diamond, Binds has become involved with working with sick and terminally ill children. Bonds has an honorary chair with the Macy's Tree Lighting Committee, which fundraises for the children's hospice UCSF Children's Hospital Palliative Care Program.
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