Barry Bonds feels like he’s gone from comparisons to Murderers’ Row to being on Death Row.
Baseball’s single-season record holder and all-time leader in home runs believes Major League Baseball has handed him a “death sentence,” telling The Athletic he feels like a pariah in the sport since retiring from the game in 2007.
The PED-tainted slugger said his heart is “really broken” by his exclusion from baseball, although he served as a hitting coach under manager Don Mattingly for the Miami Marlins in 2016 and as a special adviser with the San Francisco Giants since 2017.
“A death sentence. That’s what they’ve given me,” Bonds said of MLB. “If they don’t want me, just say you don’t want me and be done with it. Just be done with it.”
The seven-time National League MVP belted 762 home runs, including 73 in 2001, over a 22-year major-league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Giants. But Bonds’ career numbers have been sullied by his alleged involvement in the steroids era, leading to his exclusion thus far from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He and Roger Clemens largely have been tracking together over their first eight years together on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 60.7 percent of the required 75% needed for enshrinement in the most recent cycle, with only Derek Jeter and Larry Walker gaining election.
The 55-year-old Bonds has two more years of eligibility remaining before his Hall case will shift to the various veterans’ committees, added that he feels like “a ghost in a big empty house, just rattling around.” He also currently is working as a guest instructor with the Giants in spring training.
“I know what I did out there,” Bonds told The Athletic. “I know what I accomplished between those lines. It’s outside those lines that I would have done some things different.”
Bonds never has fessed up publicly to using PEDs, but he reportedly said during grand jury testimony in 2003 that he used substances provided to him by his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, which prosecutors charged contained steroids.
In 2011, Bonds was convicted of one felony count of obstruction of justice over his grand jury testimony, but the remaining three perjury counts filed against him resulted in a mistrial. Those charges later were dropped.