Looking back at Barry Bonds' stellar and controversial career as the Giants retire his number

Byby Juan Carlos Guerrero KGO logo
Thursday, August 9, 2018
A look back at Barry Bonds' stellar yet controversial career
Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds gets ready before a game on August 6, 2007, a day before he broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Saturday, the San Francisco Giants will take another step towards embracing arguably their greatest player, who also happens to come with a lot of baggage.

Eleven years after Barry Bonds stopped playing, the team will retire his 25 uniform number. It should have been a given.

Bonds is baseball's career home run leader. He holds the single-season home run record, has the most career walks, the most intentional walks, and is the only player to ever hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases.

Yet despite all of his accomplishments, it has been hard to honor Bonds. He has not been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after six tries. It's all due to one word - steroids.

Bonds is suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. In 2003, he testified to a federal grand jury that he used a cream given to him by his trainer, Greg Anderson, but said he did not know it contained anabolic steroids. A book, Game of Shadows, would later allege he knowingly used steroids.

Despite the controversy, the Giants will honor Bonds an hour before the August 11 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team he played for during his first seven major league seasons. The team will wear a patch that day with Bonds likeness and the words "Forever Giant".

This patch will be worn by the San Francisco Giants as they play the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 11, 2018m, when the team retires Barry Bonds' 25 jersey number.
San Francisco Giants

Among those in attendance will be five Giants Hall of Famers (Gaylord Perry, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays) who all have statues honoring them outside AT&T Park. Last year, the Giants added a plaque of Bonds to their Walk of Fame.

Here is a list of important milestones in Bonds' career in San Francisco.

December 1992: Bonds signs with the Giants after playing for seven years with Pittsburgh, where he won two Most Valuable Player awards. Bonds wore number 24 with the Pirates and the Giants considered unretiring Willie Mays' number 24 uniform, but backtracked after a public outcry.

1993: Bonds wore number 25 on his uniform, the same number his father, Bobby Bonds, used for seven seasons with the team. Bonds went on to hit 46 home runs and won a third M.V.P. award.

1996: Bonds becomes the first National League player to have 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season.

1998: Bonds becomes the fifth Major League Player ever to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. He hit the 400th home run of his career.

Apr. 17, 2001: Bonds hits his 500th career home run.

Oct. 4, 2001: Bonds hits his 70th home run of the season, tying the record held by Mark McGwire. Bonds finishes the year with 73 home runs.

2002: At age 38, Bonds finishes the season with a .370 batting average and wins his second of four consecutive M.V.P. awards.

Aug. 9, 2002: Bonds hits his 600th career home run.

Jun. 23, 2003: Bonds steals the 500th base of his career, making him the only MLB player with 500 home runs and 500 stolen bases in a career.

Dec. 2 2003: Bonds testified before a federal grand jury looking into BALCO, a laboratory based in Burlingame under investigation for supplying professional athletes with performance-enhancing steroids. Bonds's personal trainer, Greg Anderson, was tied to BALCO. Bonds testified he used a cream given to him by Anderson, but that he never knowingly used steroids.

Feb. 12, 2004: Anderson is charged with supplying professional athletes with anabolic steroids.

Apr. 12, 2004: Bonds ties Giants legend Willie Mays with his 660th career home run. He would surpass Mays with a home run the next day.

Sep. 17, 2004: Bonds becomes the third player ever to hit 700 career home runs.

2005: Bonds was injured most of the year and only hit 5 home runs.

Mar. 2006: "Game of Shadows" is published. The book by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams alleges Bonds knowingly used performance-enhancing steroids.

May 28, 2006: Bonds surpasses Ruth with his 715th home run.

Aug. 6, 2007: Bonds hits his 756th career home run to surpass Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king.

Aug. 24, 2007: San Francisco holds a public rally at Justin Herman Plaza to honor the accomplishment and declares it Barry Bonds Day.

Sep. 15, 2007: The 756th home run ball is auctioned and bought by fashion designer Marc Ecko for $752,467. After holding an online poll about what to do with the ball, Ecko puts an asterisk on the ball and gives it to the Hall of Fame.

Sep. 26, 2007: Bonds plays his last game for the Giants. He goes unsigned in the off-season and is forced into retirement.

Nov. 15, 2007: Bonds is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury during the BALCO steroid investigation.

Apr. 22, 2015: Bonds' conviction for obstruction of justice is overturned. The perjury charges were dropped earlier.

July 8, 2017: The Giants honor Bonds with a plaque on the Walk of Fame outside AT&T Park.