In 2007, Barry Bonds earned $19.3 million, led the league with an OBP of .480, and hit, by his Olympian standards, a meager 28 home runs. The San Francisco Giants did not offer him a contract the next season, which was understandable given the amount of very public shit Bonds and the team has gone through. Curiously, nobody else picked him up. It was a surprise to Bonds, as his agent Jeff Borris opened Bonds’ free agency saying, “I’m expecting widespread interest from every Major League team.”
Bonds offered to take a minimum contract. He could have played DH. Despite his age, he could have been a benefit to every single team in the majors, and the fact that he was not allowed to play is suspicious as hell. Athletes facing legal action get signed all the time, especially transcendent ones. His habit of keeping it too real certainly didn’t do him any favors, but he was the greatest hitter of all time and, at the time, still historically productive.
Regardless, nobody signed him and Bonds, who has never officially retired, would never play in the majors again. The next year, the MLBPA said it had found evidence of collusion that baseball’s owners for nobody to sign Bonds yet it hesitated to press forward with any action. Collusion was a common way to move things forward during Bud Selig’s tenure, as Marchman notes.
Bonds himself went ahead and filed a claim against the MLB this year and lost it today, CBS Sports reports. Frederic Horowitz, who served as arbitrator, was also the arbitrator in the Alex Rodriguez case. This just about wraps up most of the lingering legal cloud that had been hanging over Bonds since 2003. The Giants have been making noise about him coming back to the team in some capacity, which would be great. The photo there at the top is of Bonds at batting practice yesterday. Baseball is losing their bunk-ass war to permanently vilify Barry Bonds, even if he lost this collusion case.
Photo via AP