On Friday, the Miami Marlins manager decided to hire someone with virtually no coaching experience as their new hitting instructor: Barry Bonds.
The all-time home run leader with 762 round trippers, Bonds, 51, retired in 2007, has been denied entry to the Hall of Fame because of his dalliance with steroids. He spent a total of one week in 2014 as a special instructor for the San Francisco Giants during spring training, but his resume begins and ends there.
Frank Menechino, the prior hitting coach, was demoted to assistant hitting coach to make room for Bonds. Out of the 15 NL teams, the Marlins ranked next-to-last in the NL in runs scored in 2014, 12th in on-base percentage, and 13th in slugging percentage.
Bonds has tutored some students one-on-one, including Alex Rodriguez before his return to baseball and Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler. If those pupils’ stats mean anything, Bonds may well succeed in restoring the Marlins’ power. Rodriguez clubbed 33 home runs, his most in seven years, while Fowler hit 17 home runs, the most of his career.
MLB is seemingly welcoming big-name stars tainted by their association with illegal substances back into the game. Mark McGwire served as Marlins manager Don Mattingly’s hitting coach when Mattingly managed the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now serves the San Diego Padres in that capacity. Roger Clemens has been hired as a special assistant for the Houston Astros.
Bonds was indicted in 2007 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice and convicted of obstruction of justice, a decision an appellate court upheld in 2013 but another court reversed in 2015.