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Hail To The King: All Time HR Leader Barry Bonds Turns 54

On this day 54 years ago, the greatest hitter in modern baseball history and the most maligned, controversial face of MLB’s tragic and tremendously profitable PED era was born in Riverside, California. 

San Francisco Giants on Twitter

Happy Birthday to #ForeverGiant, @BarryBonds! #Bonds25 https://t.co/E3qQqD21yt

Bonds was born as the golden child of a legendary sports family. His godfather is Willie Mays, also his direct competition for GOAT. 

Dexter Fowler on Twitter

Happy birthday to the most loyal, compassionate, generous, hard working person I know. You’ve loved me, helped me, and inspired me like your own son. I’m forever grateful. @BarryBonds

His father, Bobby Bonds, is one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all-time and was a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner in a baseball career that started with the San Francisco Giants in 1968 and ended with the Cubs in 1981. 

Bonds aunt Rosie was a 1964 Olympic hurdler. His uncle Robert won two Gold Medals in the hurdles at the high school track and field state finals in 1960 and was an NFL Draft pick in 1965. 

Bonds was born into greatness. He first walked in his fathers footsteps and then created an incomparable baseball legacy of his own, which saw him ascend to Hall of Fame status before he ever began putting up video game numbers and becoming the most unstoppable force in baseball history during the PED era.

San Francisco Giants on Twitter

Welcome back, @BarryBonds! #ForeverGiant #SFGiants https://t.co/bUofxCwnu2

Bonds played 22 MLB seasons; seven for the Pittsburgh Pirates and 15 for the San Francisco Giants. He holds numerous batting records, including the single season home run record (73) and hes of course MLBs all-time career home run King with 762 dingers. 

As one of the central figures and scapegoats in baseball’s steroids scandal, some people feel Bonds accomplishments are tainted and the writers who elect legends to the Hall of Fame arent trying to put him in Cooperstown yet. 

Still, he has many supporters who are pushing his cause, particularly in light of the PED suspects that have been allowed entrance into Cooperstown these past few seasons (Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez, Craig Biggio, etc. ) along with the coaches who oversaw this era getting into the Hall of Fame (Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre). 

MLB: Does Barry Bonds belong in the Hall of Fame?

Rob Parker and Skip Bayless discuss Barry Bonds comments about being in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Watch more videos like this at http://www.espnamerica.com

Despite the politics, Bonds has returned to baseball. He did a brief stint as hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, and as the steroids era gets further in baseballs rearview mirror, his colossal accomplishments as a player will begin to define his existence again. One day he will be proudly and deservedly inducted into baseballs Hall of Fame. 

There have been many disgraced heroes that have been caught using PEDS or have admitted to the transgression. Bonds never admitted to knowingly using any performance enhancers, he was never convicted of it, never failed a drug test. In fact, hes been acquitted of any criminal charges he was facing concerning his testimony to federal officials concerning his possible PED use. 

Barry Bonds Obstruction Of Justice Conviction Overturned

Barry Bonds’ criminal conviction was thrown out Wednesday. Joe Vazquez reports. (4/22/15)

These days Bonds is enjoying his family and doing charitable work through his foundation. 

Its only a matter of time before Bonds gets all of the accolades he deserves for helping to revive baseball in the ’90s and early 2000’s by accomplishing superhuman feats and making it a more popular sport. 

Happy Birthday to an African-American hero and living American sports legend. 

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