Barry Bonds can pass every drug test put in front of him by Major League Baseball.
He can play coy with a grand jury, saying he unwittingly took “the cream” and “the clear.”
He can fool some of the people some of the time but not simple baseball analysis.
That’s exactly when Bonds had his first prime — from 1990 to 1994, when he won three MVP awards.
Moreover, regardless of what the MVP award voting says, Bonds was the best player in the National League five times from ages 25 to 30.
Through 1998, Bonds continued to produce big numbers, stretching his great play into his 30s because he was just that good, and all players’ statistics took a jump beginning in 1994.
But during that phony 1998 season — when Mark McGwire crushed homers like Paul Bunyan, Sammy Sosa was his merry Dominican sidekick and Bud Selig proclaimed baseball was back — Bonds turned green with jealousy as he watched his “best player in the game” mantle go to a couple of one-dimensional home run hitters.
According to “Game of Shadows” by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, Bonds watched this distortion of the game and decided to even the playing field.
McGwire hit 52, 58, 70 and 65 home runs between the ages of 32 and 35 after never hitting more than 49.
Sosa hit 66, 63, 50 and 64 home runs between the ages of 29 and 32 after never hitting more than 40.
Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids during his last season in 2005, hit 37 home runs once in his 20s. In his 30s, he did it nine times.
Before his positive steroid test, Palmeiro told Congress: “I have never used steroids. Period.”