“The untitled HBO Sports Documentary will tell the story of Barry Bonds, baseball’s single-season and all-time home run king, from his beginnings as the son of All-Star Bobby Bonds, and godson of the iconic Willie Mays, all the way up to his meteoric rise in the 1990s and 2000s,” via Deadline.
While the details provided are rather scarce, there is one aspect of Bonds' story that undoubtedly piques everyone's curiosity, and that is the infamous steroid scandal that implicated him and other prominent players in 2003, leading to a federal investigation into the Balco supplement company.
Even though Bonds holds an awe-inspiring array of career statistics, they'll forever be intertwined with the stain of steroids. That's his legacy now. No matter if your fan or critic, the preface to every argument begins with steroids. Even so, let's look some of those numbers:
- 73 single-season home runs
- 762 home runs
- 1,996 RBIs
- 2,558 walks
- 2,935 hits
- 2,227 runs
- 514 stolen bases.
- OPS of 1.051.
- 7 MVPs
When contemplating these numbers, their sheer enormity surpasses human comprehension. No normal human could accomplish such feats, right? The natural assumption is that the only way they do make sense is by some sort of cheat code. Enter code “roids” at checkout for MLB home run record. Unquestionably, this is the primary obstacle preventing Bonds from ever entering the esteemed halls of Cooperstown, being that it's now the encapsulation of his entire career.
The forthcoming documentary will undoubtedly provide a captivating portrayal of Bonds' life. However, the extent of honesty from the director and producers, as well as Bonds himself, remains a subject of intrigue. How deeply will they delve into the past, unearthing the ugly details that involved a federal investigation, indictments, perjury, and even sentencing?
There is reason to believe that Bonds will defend himself against the criticisms leveled at him, even if they do hold some validity. Yet, could this documentary serve as a form of apology? Is it a final campaign aimed at securing Bonds' enshrinement into the revered halls of the Hall of Fame? This might be his last, resounding swing for the fences, an opportunity to address the controversies surrounding his legacy. But even so, it's likely all in vain.
As far as the normal means of voting goes, Bonds has run out of lives. Bonds met his 10-year limit in 2021 to be awarded induction. He received 66 percent of the 75 needed to get in, missing 33 of the 293 votes from the voting committee. However, even in Bonds last chance from the 16-member committee, where he needed 12 votes of yes, he was denied once again the next year.
Even though rules are made to be amended or broken, it's unlikely MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would do as Bonds did by breaking one and allowing the all-time home run hitter into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Bonds could have the sincerest of apologies, admitting to everything, but it would never be enough. Manfred didn't do it for the all-time hits leader Pete Rose, who has gone out of his way to make amends for his decision to gamble on games. To do it for Bonds would then be blasphemous in the holy name of baseball. The closest Bonds will ever get to the hall of fame is his record-setting 756th home run ball, labeled with asterisk and all.
Bonds' records, although factual and deserving of such an honor as the Hall of Fame will forever be overshadowed by this lingering shadow, preventing him from attaining redemption. You could add up the length to all 762 of his home runs, and it would never be enough to distance him from the stain of controversy and skepticism that shrouds his legacy.