The steroid era, boy were those fun times! Home run after home run after home run after…you get the picture.
Sluggers like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez were smashing
juiced baseballs left and right in the late-1990s and early 2000s. In 1998, Mark McGwire set the single-season home run record with 70. In the very same season, Cubs all-star Sammy Sosa would’ve set the record with 66 long balls. Turns out, that record didn’t last long at all.
On October 5, 2001, exactly 16 years ago, Barry Bonds did the unthinkable.
After a historic season and being well on his way to his fourth MVP – also starting a streak of four in a row – Bonds smashed his 71st home run of the season into the stands of then-Pacific Bell Park in front of 41,730 screaming fans. Doing it against state and division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers made the moment even that much sweeter for Bonds and the Giants. And only because Barry Bonds can do it, he hit another home run that night, bringing his total to an unimaginable 72.
Bonds later finished the season with and insurmountable 73 homers in 2001, a feat we are likely never to see again in Major League Baseball. In fact, the closest a player has gotten to 73 four-baggers in a season since 2001 actually happened this year, when outfielder Giancarlo Stanton crushed 59 homers for the Miami Marlins.
Everyone knows about Bonds’ legacy in baseball, being one of baseball’s most feared, yet controversial hitters. His extraordinary career was marred by dozens of compelling steroid allegations, forever tainting his single-season home run record and his all-time home run record of 762.
Bonds exit from the game was unceremonious. The Giants simply didn’t resign him and no other team gave him a shot. Since bowing out, he’s had a short lived stint as a coach for the Marlins, but his former team recently brought him on as a special assistant.
Despite being vilified and forgotten by media, Bonds seems happy in his new role and life.The once hulking figure has slimmed down and is heavy on a health and wellness kick…how ironic.