MIAMI: US home run king Barry Bonds began his first full-time Major League Baseball job since 2007 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), the controversial new Miami Marlins hitting coach declaring “God knows I’m a Hall of Famer.”
Bonds hit a record 762 homers over 22 seasons, but links to performance-enhancing drugs had the former San Francisco slugger jeered by many fans and have clouded his bid for a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bonds, 51, spent a week as a guest instructor for his former club two years ago, but had been out of the major leagues until joining new Marlins manager Don Mattingly’s coaching staff.
A media induction panel this year gave Bonds only 44.3 percent support for the Hall of Fame, well shy of the 75 percent figure needed for enshrinement but his best total in four years on the ballot.
“God knows I’m a Hall of Famer,” Bonds said Saturday. “I know that I’m a Hall of Fame player. I don’t really need to get into that. I’ll leave that to you guys to make that determination.
“But in my fraternity, in Major League Baseball, there’s not one player that ever could sit there and say that I’m not one. There’s not a coach who ever coached me that says I’m not one.”
Bonds was a seven-time Most Valuable Player and an eight-time Gold Glove winner for his fielding skills. He made 14 All-Star teams and led the majors in homers three times, including a one-season record of 73 in 2001.
Bonds’ former personal trainer was among those convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal, but no doping case has ever been proven against Bonds.