SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Barry Lamar Bonds was born 50 years ago Thursday, and has since crushed more homers than anyone ever to put on a pair of spikes. The San Francisco Giants legend has achieved just about everything a pro can hope for in baseball, including surpassing the bar set by his all-star dad. But what’s missing from a trophy case of a 22 year career that includes 8 Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Slugger selections, and 7 Most Valuable Player Trophies? Here are our picks for gifts that would be appreciated by the birthday boy:
He needs a ring, to be specific. As Giants fans well know, Barry was just eight outs away from getting himself one in 2002, but the Giants bullpen coughed up a five run lead and left Giants fans waiting eight more years for a title. Barry held up his end of the bargain with a .471 average in the series, including four homers, but the ring remains absent from his resume, a fact he was reminded of repeatedly by opposing fans.
Some Barry loyalists are already planning on purchasing a statue of the slugger, and just want you to pitch in on the $60,000 tab. A kicksterter campaign has started to put a statue of Bonds outside of AT&T Park alongside his godfather, Willie Mays, and other Giants greats.
Trip To New York
Are they really going to try and keep Bonds out of Cooperstown? He allegedly began taking performance enhancing drugs after the 1998 season, according to the investigative book ‘Game of Shadows.’ What followed was a career resurgence that left him with both the all time and single-season home run records, but the taint of the Steroid Era has led many sportswriters to leave him off the ballot. Before that? Three MVP’s, 8 gold gloves more than 400 homers and and most of his 514 career steals. Sound like Hall of Fame numbers to you?
A New Gig
The Giants tested the waters of bringing back Barry as a part-time instructor during Spring Training, but would giving him a full-time job on the coaching staff be that crazy? The “Steroid Era’s” next biggest name – Mark McGwire – is a hitting instructor for the Dodgers and he was only a career .263 hitter. Imagine the leg up the Giants would have on their rivals with Bonds – a career .298 hitter and all time walks leader – dropping his knowledge on the bench?
If you’re swinging by Staples this afternoon, pick Barry up a bottle of Wite-Out. It’s going to need to be a big one to cover up all of the controversy. In a 2008 protest of his performance enhancing drug allegations, the ball which sailed over the fence to give him the all-time home run title was marked with an asterisk by its owner and displayed at the Hall of Fame. In fact, there have been repeated calls to mark Barry’s achievements in the record books with an asterisk. For his part, Bonds feels he should be in the Hall of Fame “Without a doubt.” But wishing won’t take away the taint on an otherwise brilliant career, so maybe the whiteout will work?