Bonds and the Steroid Era

By Collin D.

Barry Bonds is a former professional baseball player that played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is most known for hitting the most home runs in MLB history, 762, having 7 MVP awards, 12 Silver Sluggers, a 14-time All-Star, 8 Gold Glove awards, and more. He looked like a Hall of Fame caliber player at the beginning of his career. He was an all-around player being able to make contact, have power, have great defense, and was very fast, all before he took steroids. Yes, he was allegedly caught using PEDs (Performance Enhanced Drugs) in his career which has changed how he is looked at. Many people have different perspectives or opinions on the situation and they don’t know how to balance it out.

Although a few players used steroids through the ’70s and ’80s, 1998 is widely known as the start of the Steroid Era. This is considered the start of it because this was the year when many superstars started using PEDs including Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, and many more. These were very entertaining years for baseball fans, too, because seeing so many players just blasting home runs left and right is pretty fun, including the “Home run Race” between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Steroids were banned in the MLB in 1991, but there was no testing until 2003. In my opinion, the MLB didn’t take this under control at all and should have taken more of a role in addressing the problem. It is rumored that they did this because they saw how much entertainment was going on in baseball, and they didn’t want to change that.

Many people have different perspectives and conspiracies on how or why Bonds took steroids, but this is what many people believe to be the truth. From public information, back in the 1998 season Bonds had hired a personal trainer, Greg Anderson, to help him work out or do drills for baseball. During that time Bonds apparently took steroids after Anderson misled him into believing he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis cream. However, there were steroids instead. When the news came out that Bonds allegedly used steroids in 2003, he responded to the allegations about the trainer and said, “Greg wouldn’t do that” and “He knows I’m against that stuff.” Anderson then refused to testify before a grand jury and spent three months in jail in 2006. After a while, there was another trial in court in 2011, where Anderson was found guilty. During that trial, Bonds was also charged for lying that Anderson didn’t inject him with steroids.

In my opinion, Bond’s career was messed up badly on something that wasn’t his fault. Nobody has all the information or knows all the talking that went on behind the scenes, but looking at the information that’s public, Bonds is not who the society makes him look like. I had a one-on-one conversation with Cliff Floyd, a former MLB player that played in the ‘90s. I asked him how the pressure was in the Steroid Era and how he felt about it. He said, “I knew for a fact guys were doing it, but I stayed in my lane. I understood that it was my own responsibility. You just take care of yourself and keep moving.” He also explained one word that was very meaningful to him – integrity. He said, “I hope you know what integrity is, and if you mess with that, I think you’re messing with something that’s very special to me.”

This journey of Bonds shows us you should never believe everything that you hear in this world, especially with social media these days. You never know what really happens behind the curtains. To me, part of integrity is keeping thoughts to yourself if you don’t know the real story. To have different perspectives or opinions on situations you need reasoning to support your answer. In addition we should also appreciate people even if they make mistakes. Barry Bonds was an unbelievably amazing athlete even before steroids were talked about. Cliff Floyd concluded, “to never judge anybody is what I was taught, and hopefully you were taught the same.”

Student Bio

Collin D.

2021 Summer Program

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