When you talk about the greatest players to ever play baseball, Barry Bonds have better be mentioned in the top five because frankly, this guy was a beast. Steroids scandal aside, and I'm not really sold on how they improve performance anyway since the majority of baseball players used them during a certain era and not even a fair percentage of them actually improved their play, Barry was as complete a player as you are going to find.
Looking at his career highlights and awards is like looking at an almost never-ending tribute to greatness. It's a list that would look good spread out among 10 players, let alone 1. For his career, Bonds was a 14x All-Star, an 8x Gold Glove winner, a 12x Silver Slugger Award winner, a 7x NL MVP and a 3x recipient of the NL Hank Aaron Award. As of right now, he holds the MLB record for home runs with 762, for home runs in a season with 73, for career walks with 2,558 and for career intentional walks with 688.
Talk about achievements! And before you start in on how the 'roids made him strictly a power hitter, let me inform you that Mr. Bonds has over 500 stolen bases in his career, 514 to be exact, and that's not something you see everyday with a 'power' hitter.
No, Barry Bonds has it all from a personal perspective regarding his achievements in baseball. In fact, the one thing you can say he doesn't have, outside of respect because of the steroids scandal, is a World Series ring.
The thing is that baseball, unlike say basketball and football, is the most team sport out there. Because of the structure of the game and how it is played, one player cannot simply take over and will his team to victory. In baseball, you need multiple people on multiple days to step it up if you are even going to make it past the first round of the postseason.
So, despite the personal greatness of Bonds, he was never able to integrate that onto a team that could go the distance. Oh, he was close a time or two, but he never could pass that one career hurdle that every player dreams of.
Look, like I mentioned above, I get that Bonds name is synonymous with the steroids era and it's going to take a small miracle to get him into the Hall of Fame, let alone for people to look at him as the great player he was. On top of that, the guy wasn't really a good teammate or even a good interview because he really isolated himself from everybody. But you can't dismiss the greatness that he had when it came to playing the game.
Bonds is the greatest player of the last 30 years, hands down, and to say otherwise would be foolish. But, and I'm sure he would trade anything to rectify this, he's also one of the greatest players in the past 30 years to never win a Championship, a distinction that will travel with him for the rest of his life.
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