Barry Bonds, despite complicated legacy, to be inducted into Pirates Hall of Fame

The Barry Bonds era in Pittsburgh did not end too well, but the two sides seem to be making up for lost time.

The Pirates announced on Tuesday that Bonds, MLB’s controversial home run king, will be inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame this summer.

“That’s where my career started, right? That’s who drafted me. Couldn’t have had a better manager, better team, better starting point for me. It was perfect. We built a bond that there’s no way it’s ever gonna be broken,” Bonds said in a video posted by the team on social media.


Pittsburgh Pirates Barry Bonds, #24, at bat against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 in Atlanta on Oct. 12, 1991. (Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“I am honored and excited to be included in the 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame class. My career started in Pittsburgh and it will forever have a special place in my heart,” he later wrote on Instagram with black and yellow hearts.

The Pirates selected Bonds in the second round of the 1982 MLB Draft, and he quickly became one of the best players in the game. During his time in Pittsburgh, he won two MVPs and finished second another year, and won three Gold Glove Awards. In his final three years with the Pirates, he hit .301 with a .990 OPS.

That stretch, though, put him into superstardom, and when he was entering his contract year, the Pirates actually agreed to trade him to the Atlanta Braves, but it was nixed after Pirates manager Jim Leyland opposed it. Bonds then left for the San Francisco Giants in free agency for what was then the richest contract in baseball. There, he won five more MVPs, five more Gold Glove Awards and nine Silver Slugger Awards.


Pittsburgh Pirates Barry Bonds, 24, in action against the San Diego Padres in San Diego. (Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

However, while in the Bay Area, though, he became the arguable face of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of baseball, despite his constant denial that he had ever taken steroids. He is also the all-time leader in walks and intentional walks, having been given a free pass more often than the entire Tampa Bay Rays franchise combined.

During his time in Pittsburgh, and even San Francisco, Bonds was notoriously disliked by the media.

Bonds was taken off the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot last year after failing to earn the required 75% of the vote for induction.

Barry Bonds, #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, looks on during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on May 21, 1992 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)


He remains the only player in the 350-350 club (home runs and stolen bases) – he had 762 and 514.

His number 25 was retired by the Giants in 2018. He wore 24 with the Pirates, which was retired by San Francisco in honor of his godfather, Willie Mays.

Leyland and Manny Sanguillen will also be inducted with Bonds.

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