One of baseball’s most controversial figures will be the subject of a new ESPN E60 prime time special debuting Sunday night.
E60 presents – BONDS will examine the life and career of Barry Bonds as the former Pittsburgh Pirate and San Francisco Giant nears the end of his eligibility to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The one-hour program, hosted by Jeremy Schaap, premiers at 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 7, on ESPN.
The numbers are staggering. What Bonds achieved in baseball – the home runs, the MVP awards, the Gold Glove awards, the mind-boggling slugging and on-base percentages – place him squarely among the game’s all-time greats. In terms of production, there are only a handful of players on the same level with Bonds.
But Bonds’ achievements have been tarnished by what is known about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. For the last nine years, Bonds has been eligible for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame and each year, when the ballots are tallied, has come up short. Now he is in his final year on the writers’ ballot, making the issue of his worthiness for selection more urgent than ever before.
In the new special, E60 looks back on Bonds’ career: the stupendous feats of his youth; his relationship with his coaches, teammates and the media; his late-career performance surge; and the steroids controversy – all of it in the context of his Hall of Fame candidacy and examining all of the issues that the writers themselves grapple with as they are filling out their ballots.
Among those interviewed for the program:
- Jim Leyland – Bonds’ manager the first seven years of his career.
- Dusty Baker – his manager for the next 10 years of his career.
- Andy Van Slyke – Pirates teammate
- Will Clark – Giants teammate
- Eric Davis – Giants teammate
- Ron Cook – longtime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist
- Henry Schulman – longtime San Francisco Giants beat reporter
- Janie McCauley – San Francisco-based Associated Press writer
- Jeff Pearlman – author of the Bonds biography Love Me, Hate Me
- Mark Fainaru-Wada – ESPN reporter, co-author of Game of Shadows
- T.J. Quinn – ESPN reporter
- Buster Olney – ESPN reporter
- Tim Kurkjian – ESPN reporter
- Doug Glanville – ESPN analyst, former MLB player
- Howard Bryant – ESPN commentator
- Terence Moore – longtime national columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- Richard Justice – longtime national columnist for the Houston Chronicle
- Erik Strohl – Vice President, National Baseball Hall of Fame
Together, these voices, and Bonds’, too, through the extensive use of exclusive archival material, bring the Hall of Fame debate to life, illustrating the complexities of the issue, and why the writers are so deeply divided as they consider, for the last time, whether Bonds deserves a place in Cooperstown.
After its television debut, the program will be available for on-demand viewing on the ESPN App.