Barry Bonds Used Steroids

***Update (3/7/06): See Barry Bonds Started Steroids after McGwire-Sosa Chase***

The big shoe is apparently dropping in the Major League Baseball steroids scandal:

Report: Bonds unknowingly used steroids (ESPN)

Photo: ESPN Report Links Bonds to Juice Barry Bonds Steroids Allegations in BALCO Grand Jury testimonyBarry Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring, but said he didn’t know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steroids known as “the cream” and “the clear,” which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player’s arthritis.

According to government attorneys, BALCO founder Victor Conte has identified the designer steroid THG as “the clear.” A testosterone-based ointment was identified as “the cream.” Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery testified that Conte used flaxseed oil containers to send “the clear” to athletes. According to a transcript of Bonds’ Dec. 4, 2003, testimony reviewed by the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted the slugger with documents allegedly detailing the steroids he used — “the cream,” “the clear,” human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, insulin and a drug for female infertility that can be used to mask steroid use.


Bonds said that, to his knowledge, Anderson had only given him legal drugs to treat his arthritis and fatigue, which were especially bad when the Giants would play a day game after a night game. He said the trainer brought the substances to the Giants’ clubhouse, where Bonds would use them. “It was in the ballpark … in front of everybody,” Bonds testified. “I mean, all the reporters, my teammates. I mean, they all saw it. I didn’t hide it.” However, Bonds testified that the products didn’t help ease his suffering, and eventually he stopped using them. “And I was like, to me, it didn’t even work,” he said. “You know me, I’m 39 years old. I’m dealing with pain. All I want is pain relief, you know? And you know, to recover, you know, night games to day games. That’s it. And I didn’t think the stuff worked. I was like, ‘Dude, whatever,’ but he was my friend. “… If it’s a steroid, it’s not working,” he told the grand jury.

Bonds is a bright guy who works incredibly hard to maintain his physical conditioning and almost surely monitors everything he puts into his body. It’s hard to believe that he was taking steroids and didn’t know it. I have no doubt that he’s in incredible pain; 162 games a year for that many years puts a toll on a man. But Anderson is a shady character. Caveat emptor and all that.

Regardless, Bonds been one of the best players in the game every year since he was winning Most Valuable Player awards as a Pittsburgh Pirate fifteen years ago:

Barry Bonds MVP seasons with statistics from Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated

(And, even as an Atlanta Braves fan, it was rather clear that Bonds should have won the MVP in 1991 rather than Terry Pendleton, even with the remarkable “worst to first” performance of the Braves that year.) If the Chronicle story of the leaked grand jury testimony is correct, Bonds didn’t start taking these enhancement products until the late 1990s. It’s not the “juice” that’s hitting those balls into McCovey Cove. Bonds is a freak of nature and arguably the best player in the game’s history. It’s a shame that this issue will always cloud his legacy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Trust me – Bonds wasn’t “on the juice” in Pittsburgh.

    How do I know this? Because of the vast difference in size between when Bonds left our team and when he started breaking records on the San Fran Giants. It was amazingly disturbing.

    I don’t doubt he’s a great player (though Pittsburgh will always resent him for leaving us after our last championship runs – those were a great two years playing the Braves, I only wish we would have won – I was really young at the time). I think he started juicing up to become even more of an amazing player.

    I can’t believe he didn’t know. I mean, the way he beefed up, he had to at least suspect that there were steroids in what he was getting from Anderson.

  2. dick says:

    I beleive this is a bunch of bull if he was a white boy it would be different

  3. BIGMAK1 says:

    IM SORRY BUT B MINICH, the last writer to respond, IS RETARDED. nowhere does it say that barry was takng the balm other then in 2003,, what about his entire career? Even in college he was the best home run hitter. He was sooo skinny back then! Steroids do not effect ur eye hand coordination at all. Now Giambi and Sosa, of course they are on them. They look like mutants, with big arms and big ass’s. Barry looks like a normal 40 year old who has taken good care of himself. Not like a mutant muscle man like giambi, or sosa.
    And his numbers have stayed the same, even when he got off the “clear”.

    So there people! just use some friggn common sense,

  4. herron says:

    This article is, in a nutshell, slander. Barry Bonds has not admitted to steroid use. He has never tested positive for steroids. The only thing that Barry said in his testimony is that he used flaxseed oil and a creme for arthritis. He did not believe that the cream or the flaxseed oil contained steroids. His trainer has testified that he did not give Barry Bonds steroids. Barry Bonds has tested negative for steroids even after the newer test for THG were introduced. You are trying to connect the dots without the facts…only gross misinformation, specutation and lies……However, this seems to be the New American way…We were just sent into a war in Iraq based on gross misinformation speculation and lies. This is the kind of Crap that I expect from Fox News. I have a better question, what are your motives for wanting to demonize Barry Bonds?

    We also have a guy, Victor Conte, a worm, who would do or say anything to get the heat off his back….He is trying to get a deal from the Goverment so that he won’t have serve a prison sentence for Drug Dealing.

    Victor Conte should be in jail serving a prison sentence. He better Bulk up before he goes in because he’s going to need it.

  5. Kovan Baldwin says:

    i don’t belive that Barry used steriods i belive he is just a grerat baseball player who puts time and effort into being a better player people are hatin and just want top make him look bad becasue he is a great player who is black that is breaking all the records and people aren’t used to that so i think he’s not until peopler have real evidence we should just drop it peace

  6. Joe says:

    I hate Barry Bonds. He takes steroids. Kick him out of baseball forever.
    Let Pete Rose back in!!!!!!

  7. Bill Norman says:

    Barry Bonds has disgraced baseball, not only with his obvious steriod and human growth hormone abuse, but also with his continued lying about it. When Barry played here in Pittsburgh, we never had a more unpopular, mean-spirited player. Barry was the only player who wouldn’t sign a shirt and a bat to help raise money for 2 groundkeeper’s families who died on opening day. Barry has abused steroids for at least 8 years, and therefore his statistice are tainted. Barry has tainted his own career, and given MLB a bigger black eye than Pete Rose or the “black sox” ever did.