Barry Bonds might never make it into baseball’s Hall of Fame, but he has found a way back into the sport.
The Miami Marlins named the 51-year-old as the team’s new hitting coach Friday morning, ending an exile that started after the 2007 season.
That was the year that a federal grand jury indicted him for perjury and obstruction of justice in the BALCO scandal. Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice, although the conviction was overturned earlier this year, making a return to the game a little more likely.
Still, he will be joining what is probably the most dysfunctional franchise in baseball, thanks to the constant meddling of Jeffrey Loria.
Other players from the steroid era have gotten back into uniform, including Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez, but Bonds and Roger Clemens have always seemed to be the faces of the damage PEDs did to the sport. Despite seven MVP awards and all of his records, Bonds has never come close to election to the Hall of Fame.
Loria and the Marlins, though, are willing to take a PR hit in order to benefit from the wisdom of the man who ranks only behind Babe Ruth in career WAR.
Bonds produced the greatest hitting numbers in the history of the sport, finishing his career with a record 762 homers. He hit 73 home runs in 2001, walked 232 times in 2004, including 120 intentional walks. During his 15 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, he hit .312/.477/.666.
Despite posting a 1.045 OPS in his final season, Bonds’ legal issues meant he was not able to find a team to sign him for 2008, leaving him 65 hits short of 3,000 and four RBIs short of 2,000.