Barry Bonds, MLB’s all-time leading home run hitter, says he wishes he could have played one more year to reach the 800 home run mark.
Speaking to the Associated Press on Monday, the tenth anniversary of his breaking Hank Aaron’s record of 755, the controversial super star said it “stung” when the San Francisco Giants severed their relationship with him in 2007, while he was immersed in a cloud of steroid use allegations.
Bonds admitted that he took performance enhancing drugs at one point, but testified to a grand jury that he thought he was taking flax seed oil and arthritic balm. The Associated Press reported, “A jury found Bonds guilty in 2011 for giving a meandering answer to a federal grand jury in 2003 when asked whether his personal trainer gave him anything that required a syringe for self-injection. An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that conviction in April 2015.
“Bonds was charged in 2007, four years after his testimony before the grand jury after receiving a grant of immunity. He didn’t dispute that he took steroids, but testified to the grand jury that his former trainer, Greg Anderson, told him they were flaxseed oil and arthritic balm.”
Bonds, a seven-time NL MVP, finished his career with 762 homers and, if not for steroid allegations, would likely sit in the Hall of Fame today. Nevertheless, Bonds still stands a good chance that he will make it to Cooperstown. Bonds improved from his 44.3 percent voting percentage in 2016 to 53.8 percent this year, according to SB nation.
“Yeah, it should have only been nine (years ago). I should have played one more year, I should have had the chance to,” the 53-year-old Bonds said at AT&T Park, where he now works for the Giants.
“I was what (38) away from 800? I’d have been real close. I would have never hit under 20-something, no matter what,” the slugger said.
Bonds said that the 2008 season was never discussed with him. “I was just told I’m not coming back and that was it,” he said
Staring at the players taking batting practice Bonds admitted things ended for him on a bad note with the Giants. “It always will eat at you in a way, always, because it just wasn’t right the way it was done. It is what it is. Just to say goodbye like that after all, that’s not cool,” he said.
“It’s all right, though. Those 22 [seasons] were still good. I wish I could have gotten to retire better, or just walk away better, whatever it was, however you want to call it.”
In his last year 2007, Bonds hit 28 home and his .480 on-base average led the major leagues. He was 42-years-old.
“Yeah, it stung at the time, hard. But we built a good franchise here,” said Bonds. “The team was going to be sold at the time and when you weigh everything in it, we kept a great team in San Francisco, they’re winning championships. The Bay Area’s great, so who cares.”