- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 24, 2003

On Saturday, baseball lost one of its most legendary players, Bobby Bonds. After a year-long struggle with lung cancer and a brain tumor, Bonds succumbed to his illnesses, leaving behind many devoted fans and family members. He was 57.

Bonds’ career was exceptional. While with the San Francisco Giants, Bonds, best known for his incredible athletic ability that juxtaposed power and speed, attained new heights in America’s favorite pastime. He became the first baseball player in the modern era to ever hit a grand slam in his first game on June 25, 1968. Among his other accomplishments, Bonds had 1,024 RBIs and won three Gold Glove awards as an outfielder. He even became the fourth player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season in 1969 — something he went on to accomplish five times in his 14-year career, beating longtime friend and teammate Willie Mays’ record of doing it twice. He was also a three-time All-Star and National League MVP in 1973, hit 332 home runs and stole 461 bases.

Born in Riverside, Calif., Bonds began his baseball career with the San Francisco Giants straight out of high school. He played seven seasons with the Giants, but was with the organization for 23 seasons in various positions, as a player, coach, scout or front-office employee. After the 1974 season, Bonds was traded to the New York Yankees. From 1975 until his career ended in 1981, he played for the New York Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs.

Bonds’ son, Barry, has continued the family tradition of love of the game by playing with the San Francisco Giants, leading the majors this year with 39 home runs. On Wednesday night, less than 72 hours before his death, Bonds braved his illness and watched his son and the Giants play ball for the very last time at the Pacific Bell Park. Barry rushed to his father’s side during the last few days of his life and will be taking a short leave of absence from baseball.

Bobby Bonds lived life the same way he played baseball; with a lot of heart, strength and determination. Our condolences go out to his family. He will be sorely missed.

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