Barry Bonds blames himself for his negative image: ‘I was a dumbass’

Bonds in 2016, now the Miami Marlins' hitting coach.


Barry Bonds won the NL MVP Award seven times, holds the record for career home runs (762) and single-season homers (73) and claimed eight Gold Gloves. The accolades go on and on.

During his playing days, Bonds was also one of the most detested individuals in the game — by fans, media folks and some of his own teammates. Allegations of performance-enhancing drug use and perjury charges (later dropped) hung over his career and accomplishments, and the negative perception persisted because of his surliness and outward arrogance.

Now 51 years old and a bit wiser, the Miami Marlins hitting coach reflected on his image in a conversation with Terence Moore, and he expressed some regret:

One of those instances of "giving in" occurred when he dressed in a wig like Paula Abdul for a "Giants Idol" fund-raiser during 2006 spring training, winning some favor from teammates and fans.

Bonds played in front of a lot of unfriendly signs.

But by then his negative image was firmly rooted — the seeds planted during his Pittsburgh days, when he felt immense pressure to perform, he explained.

During a 2001 interview with the New York Times, Bonds said "[Fans] think I’m arrogant. Not nice. Not fan-friendly." Don’t quite recall the surly, detached Barry? Here’s a recap from Tim Keown in 2012:

Based on what he did the field, and how it translates on paper, he’s a sure-thing Hall of Famer. But Bonds seems to have come to terms with the part he played, the reputation that followed and the fact that his enshrinement may never come.

Said the home run king in January 2015:

The asterisks were a reminder of the allegations Bonds took performance-enhancing drugs to break home run records.

Bonds being happy may mean continued disinterest in taking photographs with admirers. Here’s Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson on the time that he tried to get a photo with Bonds and came away feeling blue: