Excerpts from Game of Shadows, the extensively researched forthcoming book from two San Francisco reporters who write about Barry Bonds' extensive steroid use, are available at the link in the title. The Monk read the excerpts over lunch and they are bad -- from the descriptions of how Bonds' body changed to his active and knowing complicity in the doping. Worse is the documentation: BALCO kept detailed files of the steroid regimens for its clients.
The sickest part of this situation: Bonds was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, period, if his career had ended before he ever starting taking the 'roids. From the start of his career through the end of the 1998 season, he had more than 400 homers, five 30-30 seasons (and a 40-40, but none since he started doping), three MVP awards (should've been four -- he was shafted in '91) and five top 10 finishes, eight Gold Gloves (none since he started doping), seven Silver Sluggers, and had been the best player in baseball for the past decade.
So why did he become a steroidal musclehead? Jealousy toward the fawning over Mark McGwire in 1998, ego, fear of the fast career slide that his father had (in 1999, Bonds turned 34; when Bobby Bonds turned 34, his career tanked) . . . and on it goes.
This is far worse than Mark McGwire's dodging the question in the Senate, and worse than Palmeiro's "I never took steroids" charge. McGwire may have taken something, but there are two mitigation factors: (1) he OPENLY ADMITTED taking Androstenedione -- an over the counter testosterone supplement that aided workout recovery; (2) he is a big bugger, a weightlifter, a big muscle man and always has been (heck, his little brother is 6-foot-8 and a former football player).
Yes, if I had a Hall of Fame vote, I'd vote for McGwire. He's been caught with nothing, he's openly admitted taking a semi-steroidal (legal) substance and he was the same player for most of his career: a huge power hitter with the tightest AB/HR ratios since Babe Ruth. His numbers did NOT wander into the stratosphere -- he'd banged 52 and 58 homers in the two years before he whacked 70 and 65 and had more injuries in the former. I'd also vote for Sosa even though I think he probably juiced (unlike McGwire, but like Bonds, Sosa's body visibly enlarged from his early career to his peak HR years).
Raffy flat lied to Congress, or did exactly what he had previously denied shortly after making that denial. His legacy is now worth less than what's in The Monk's catbox.
Bonds gained 15 pounds of muscle in 3+ months at age 33 and continued a regimen of steroids that changed him from a speed-and-power superstar to the era's king of the bangers. And all at the cost of his Cooperstown plaque.