Breaking Down Bonds

Barry Bonds’ trial for perjury recently went underway.  Bonds reportedly took substances known as “the cream” and “the clear” during his playing career; however, Bonds denied knowing they were steroids.  In a court of law, it is yet to be determined whether or not Bonds is guilty of lying; however, Bonds does not look good in another court (the court of public opinion).

Barry Bonds holds the MLB career record with 762 HR

Did Bonds lie when he said he unknowingly took steroids?  We do not know.  We all have our opinions and are entitled to them.  I recently did research on Bonds’ career numbers to see if steroids enhanced his performance.

While it is true that using steroids does not make you hit a baseball, I am of the opinion that they enhance what talent you already have.  If you are good at hitting a baseball, I believe steroids and other performance-enhacing drugs (PEDs for short) will make you hit said baseball harder and with less effort.

The problem with analyzing the “steroid era” in baseball is that we have no undisputed knowledge of which players were clean or which players used PEDs and when they used them (and for how long).

Former player Jose Canseco has often said many players used PEDs in their careers.  The Mitchell Report investigations also implicated many players and showed the use of PEDs to be widespread in Major League Baseball.

Despite the lack of knowledge in knowing which players used PEDs or not, and how long users did use them, we can still spot trends in analyzing a player’s year-by-year statistics.  These trends do not prove if/when a player took PEDs; however, big spikes in numbers can be very damning to the public’s perception of said player’s image/innocence.  Displayed below are the numbers of Barry Bonds.

Career
.298 AVG
762 HR
514 SB

Barry Bonds (1986-1999)
.288 AVG
435 HR (31.07 per season)
1,299 RBI (92.79 per season)
1,430 BB (102.14 per season)
443 SB (31.64 per season)

From 1986-1999, 21.6% of Bonds’ hits were home runs.  Bonds averaged one home run in every 16.04 at-bats.

Barry Bonds (2000-2007)
.322 AVG
317 HR (39.63 per season)
697 RBI (87.13 per season)
1,128 BB (141.00 per season)
54 SB (6.75 per season)

From 2000-2007, 34.3% of Bonds’ hits were home runs.  Bonds averaged one home run in every 9.06 at-bats.

Barry Bonds healthy seasons after 1999 (2000-2004, 2006-2007)
.323 AVG
312 HR (44.57 per season)
687 RBI (98.14 per season)
1,119 BB (159.86 per season)
54 SB (7.71 per season)

From 2000-2007 (discounting the 2005 season in which Bonds played in 14 games), 34.2% of Bonds’ hits were home runs.  Bonds averaged one home run in every 9.07 at-bats.

In light of these numbers, I believe these numbers are evidence that PEDs indeed do enhance an athlete’s natural ability.  Regardless of whether or not Bonds knowingly took steroids, I truly wish he had never touched the stuff.  Even before the 2000 season, Bonds was on the way to a Hall-Of-Fame career.

Regardless of whether or not he is telling the truth when he claims he unknowingly took steroids, his public image is already tarnished.  In my own opinion, I do not believe Bonds’ claims that he unknowingly took steroids and I do not believe he would hold the home run record (single season or career) without the aid of PEDs; however, I am still of the opinion that he was one of the greatest players of all time.

Christopher Wenrich is a senior fantasy baseball contributor for BaseballDigest.com and can be reached at philliesmuse@yahoo.com.  You can follow him on Twitter @DuggerSports

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