The son of former major-leaguer Bobby Bonds, Barry was an All-American
outfielder at Arizona State University and was chosen in the first round of
the 1985 free-agent draft by the NL's Pittsburgh Pirates. He played just 115
games in the minor leagues before being called up during the 1986 season.
Within a short time, Barry Bonds was being touted as the next great super-star,
a rare combination of hitting ability, power, speed, and defensive skill.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Barry Bonds, who is left-handed, batted only .223 as
a rookie but hit 16 home runs and stole 36 bases in just 113 games.
He was named the league's most valuable player in 1990, when he hit .301
with 33 home runs, 104 runs scored, 114 RBI, and 52 stolen bases. He also
led the league's outfielders with 14 assists. Barry Bonds won the award
again in 1992. He had a .311 average that season, led the league in runs
scored with 109 and in walks with 127, hit 34 home runs and 103 RBI, and
stole 39 bases.
Barry Bonds went to the San Francisco Giants as a free agent in 1993 and
had his best season to date, batting .336 with 46 home runs, 129 runs scored,
123 RBI, and 29 stolen bases, winning his third MVP award in four years.
For the next several years, his numbers declined somewhat, but he
consistently hit right around .300, with 33 or more home runs per season and
more than 100 RBI in all but one season.
In 1998, Barry Bonds became the first player to have more than 400 home
runs and 400 stolen bases. He went well beyond that in 2003, when he got his
500th stolen base to go with more than 600 home runs.
His durability has helped. Barry Bonds has played 140 or more games in 14
of his 17 major-league season, and has been on the disabled list only twice,
most recently in 1999, when he suffered elbow and wrist injuries.
After that season, he had a knee operation. But Barry Bonds erased any
doubts about his physical condition in 2000, when batted .306 and hit a
personal best 49 home runs.
That personal best didn't last long. Neither did the major-league home
run record of 70, set by Mark McWire in 1998. Bonds hit 73 in 2001, despite
drawing a record 177 walks. His .863 slugging percentage was another record.
In 2002, Barry Bonds broke his own record by walking 198 times. He had a
career high .370 batting average to go with 46 home runs and 110 RBI that
season. He was named the National League MVP in both 2001 and 2002, giving
him a record five awards. No other player ever won more than three.
With 613 home runs entering the 2003 season, it's possible that Bonds
could break Henry Aaron's career record of 755, though he would have to keep
playing into his early 40s to do it. However, Barry Bonds has said that
he'll retire after surpassing his godfather, Willie Mays, who is third on
the all-time list with 660 home runs.
Although most attention focuses on his hitting exploits, Barry Bonds is
also an exceptional defensive player. He has won eight Gold Glove Awards
during his career.