Bobby Bonds Jr. does not know for certain if his famous older brother took steroids, but he believes Barry deserves better treatment from Major League Baseball as he approaches Henry Aaron's career home run record.
In an interview with the Newark Star-Ledger, Bobby Bonds Jr. says he's bothered that commissioner Bud Selig has not committed to being present when Barry hits home run Nos. 755 and 756 -- and that Aaron has said he'll be elsewhere playing golf when the moment comes.
The only thing I tell them is the same thing I tell everyone, 'I don't know if he took [steroids]. Even if he did, he wouldn't have told me.'
Bobby Bonds Jr.
"Especially Hank Aaron," Bonds Jr., whose late father played in the same era as Aaron, told the newspaper. "Hank Aaron does not even want to support Barry. Being a black man going through what he went through in the past and not supporting my brother, it kind of makes me look at him like, 'Are you serious, brother? Are you serious?' "
"Cut the steroids out, just look at my brother as a human being. He stole bases, he ran, he caught the ball," Bonds Jr. told the Star-Ledger. "It's so hard to justify what's going on with baseball and how they're treating him."
Bobby Bonds Jr., 37, had warning-track power as a hitter and never made it past Triple-A. He now lives in New Jersey, where he settled after playing for the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League, and drives a forklift for a living. He knows of ex-teammates who used steroids when he refused to do the same.
"That's where my career ended," he told the newspaper. "But I refused to take them. I refused to shoot anything into my butt. If I couldn't make it naturally, then I didn't deserve to be there."
So what about his 42-year-old brother? Barry Bonds, who holds baseball's single-season home run record and is 10 homers shy of tying Aaron's career record of 755, was a focal point of the BALCO investigation, but he has never failed a drug test and has repeatedly said that he has never knowingly used steroids.
"Everyone asks," Bobby Bonds Jr. told the Star-Ledger. "The only thing I tell them is the same thing I tell everyone, 'I don't know if he took [steroids]. Even if he did, he wouldn't have told me.' "
Bobby Bonds Jr. said he even asked his brother point-blank about steroids.
"He said, 'No man, I don't need to do that [stuff].' Point blank. I'm not going to sit here and try to pump my brother up," he told the newspaper. "If he did it, if he snuck it, he's not going to let me know. You know what I mean? And if he did, he kept it quiet from the whole world."
"When other people started getting busted, of course, this guy hit 73 home runs [in 2001], he's big as hell, let's go after him. But they've tested him, he's come back negative. I don't understand why they keep bringing it up. They can't prove it."
Barry has remained rather mum about his pursuit of Aaron's record. Ninety minutes before the Giants opened a three-game series in Houston on Tuesday night, he was engulfed by about 50 reporters but refused to open up.
"I haven't done any interviews about myself at all. I'm not going to start now," he said. "If you want to talk about us and the team, and how we're doing, that's fine. But I'm not doing interviews about me. I haven't done any at all, and I'm not going to start now."
Houston's Lance Berkman said Tuesday if Bonds' eclipses Aaron's record, it should be considered tainted.
"Yeah, I think it is tainted," Berkman, quoted in the Houston Chronicle, said. "I think people are going to look at it as tainted whether it truly is or not. I think it has gotten to the point now in the media that people are assuming that he's guilty. While it's not what we're supposed to do in America, it's certainly what's happened in this case."
Bonds is off to another strong start and credits his good health as the main reason. He has 11 home runs, 23 RBI, a .511 on-base percentage and .300 batting average.
"I'm really proud of my brother," Bobby Bonds Jr. told the Star-Ledger. "It's unfortunate that reporters take it to another level and not just look at him as a human being who loves the game. I don't care if it's negative or positive, at least in the history books, they're going to know our last name!"