Barry Bonds might be one of the most controversial figures in baseball, but other than attitude, that wasn’t the story when he was a Pittsburgh Pirate.
A First Round Pick (Sixth Overall) in 1985, Barry Bonds had the pedigree of a superstar, as the son of Bobby Bonds. Bonds made it to the Pirates the following year, and began 1987 as a starter in Left. It was evident to anyone watching the Pirates that Bonds was a rare five-tool player, though it was equally apparent that he could be a handful for those who had to deal with him.
Bonds had good years from '87 to '89, but they underwhelmed compared to what was expected of him. This changed in 1990 when he finally made his first All-Star Game, led the NL in Slugging (.565), OPS (.970), and won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. Bonds also won his first MVP and took the Pirates to the NLCS, a pattern that he repeated over the next two years.
The star had another great year in 1991, leading the NL in OBP (.410), with 25 Home Runs and 116 RBI, and was the runner-up for the MVP. Bonds followed that with his best season in Western Pennsylvania, securing a second MVP with 34 HR, 103 RBI, and a league-leading 127 Walks. Bonds also was first in the NL in OBP (.456), Slugging (.624), and OPS (1.080). The awards continued with a third Gold Glove and third Silver Slugger.
As great as he was, the Pirates fans and media were not enamored with Bonds, and with impending free agency, it was expected that the slugger would leave small-market Pittsburgh.
Bonds signed with San Francisco in1993, and he became the most feared offensive player, perhaps ever. Over his tenure in Pittsburgh, Bonds smacked 176 Home Runs, 556 RBI, with a Slash Line of .275/.380/.503. As of this writing, Bonds is the only two-time MVP in franchise history.