Reggie Jackson, on the matter of Barry Bonds’ HR chase, as quoted by SI.com’s Jon Heyman.
“He’s going to be the home run king,” said Jackson, who has 563 career home runs. “They tried to get this guy more than anybody … and they’ve got nothing on him.”
For Jackson, the fact that Bonds’ late-career improvement in power “seems a little funny” isn’t enough to indict Bonds, or even to denigrate him. “I can’t believe the defamation he is getting,” Jackson said. “I think it’s unbelievable, without any data.”
I reminded Jackson that the book Game of Shadows, detailed serious steroid usage, the dates and amounts and other specifics. “I never read it,” Jackson said.
The book was pretty detailed. But Jackson is far from the only player or ex-player who feels this way. When they see Bonds, they don’t see a cheat, they see an amazing hitter who’s about to do something that seems almost impossible. And they also see that he’s never been caught, at least not by the authorities or anyone official.
The book is pretty convincing. If you’ve read it, that is. “I’m not big on unnamed sources — it doesn’t really count,” Jackson said. “Regardless of what the public suspects … he’s not in jail. The amazing thing about Bonds is that he’s held up. I think that’s pretty impressive.”
Keep mind that last spring, when the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner pointed out to Jackson that Bonds’ home run totals had increased in his late 30’s, Reggie replied, “they don’t make those vitamins any more.”