His combination of power and speed was breathtaking, and his production was unrivaled in Major League Baseball history. But as special as Bobby Bonds was, his success came as no surprise to those who watched him grow up on Riverside’s athletic fields.
Bonds was raised in a family of premier athletes on the Eastside. He starred in the Patterson Park Little League and was outstanding in track and field, once holding the state record in the broad jump. He was named Poly High School’s top football player following his senior season as the team’s tailback. But it was in baseball that Bonds would make his mark on the world. He was All-State in baseball and signed a pro contract shortly after graduating in 1964.
He was a three-time All-Star and was one of baseball’s top all-around talents in a 14-year major-league career. He played for the San Francisco Giants for the first seven years of his career and played for seven other teams in his remaining seven seasons. Bonds hit .268 in his Major League career, with 332 home runs, 1,024 RBIs and 461 stolen bases. He played in the National League Championship Series for the Giants in 1971 and was the MVP of the 1973 All-Star Game. He became the first player in Major League history to hit 30 home runs in a season for five different teams and had five seasons with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
Bonds twice led the NL in runs scored and twice in total bases as well. He finished among the top five league leaders in 12 different offensive categories throughout his career. He also won three Gold Glove awards as an outfielder.
In 1978, the Little League fields where he began his prolific career were renamed the Bobby Bonds Sports Complex.
Bobby had an untimely death in August of 2003.