Whether baseball's tarnished home run king is a Hall of Famer won't be determined for months, but in Barry Bonds' mind, he belongs in Cooperstown.
"Oh, without a doubt. There's not a doubt in my mind," Bonds said in a recent interview with MLB.com at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
The Hall of Fame ballot will be released in November. Final voting will be announced in January. Bonds will be appearing on the ballot for the first time, alongside fellow greats such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, who also were connected to performance-enhancing drugs during their careers.
Bonds hit 762 home runs and won seven MVP awards during a 22-year career that ended in 2007.
"I respect the Hall of Fame, don't get me wrong. I really, really, really respect the Hall of Fame. And I think we all do," Bonds told MLB.com. "I love the city of San Francisco and to me that's my Hall of Fame. I don't worry about it because I don't want to be negative about the way other people think it should be run. That's their opinion, and I'm not going to be negative.
"I know I'm going to be gone one day. If you want to keep me out, that's your business. My things are here in San Francisco. These are the people who love me. This is where I feel I belong. This is where I want to belong. If [the voters] want to put me in there, so be it, fine. If they don't, so be it, fine."
Bonds continues to fight his April 2011 conviction of one count of obstruction of justice, in which a trial jury found he gave an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating illegal steroids distribution. The jury deadlocked on three counts of making false statements, charges that then were dropped.
He was sentenced in December to 30 days of house arrest, two years' probation and a $4,000 fine.
After his Giants contract expired after the 2007 season, Bonds wanted to continue playing but could not find a job. He told MLB.com that he was disappointed in the way his career flamed out.
"I will never agree with that at all. But at the same token, I had a great 22 years," the 48-year-old Bonds said. "Would I have liked things to have been different? Sure, I would have loved them to be different. On one side of it, I'm disappointed. I should have been able to play one more year. That's all I wanted. Play the one more year in San Francisco. I knew one more year would have been it for me. That's what I wanted to do. It didn't work out that way.
"I have no animosity toward anyone. I'm very grateful. This is my hometown. I have family here. I don't have fans, these people are my family and I love them to death. I played for them and performed for them. I was lucky."