A day after posting a short teaser video on Twitter, the Giants officially announced Tuesday that they will retire Barry Bonds' No. 25 and celebrate his career before their Aug. 11 game against the Pirates at AT&T Park. The first 20,000 fans in attendance that night will also receive a
A day after posting a short teaser video on Twitter, the Giants officially announced Tuesday that they will retire Barry Bonds' No. 25 and celebrate his career before their Aug. 11 game against the Pirates at AT&T Park. The first 20,000 fans in attendance that night will also receive a No. 25 cap in honor of Bonds, who wore the number during his 15 years with San Francisco (1993-2007).
As a member of the Giants, Bonds slashed .312/.477/.666 with 586 home runs, winning five National League Most Valuable Player Awards and five NL Gold Glove Awards. He also set the single-season home run record with 73 in 2001, as well as the all-time home run record of 762. Bonds also holds all-time marks for walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688).
Speaking on the ballclub's flagship radio station, KNBR-AM (680), Giants president and CEO Larry Baer formalized the decision to break from club tradition and retire Bonds' number though he isn't a member of baseball's Hall of Fame.
Referring to Bonds' return to the franchise last year as a special advisor, Baer said, "We just felt the time was right in that Barry's now had more than a year under his belt back with us, but more importantly I have to say that this is something we've certainly in the back of our minds have thought was the right thing to do. Honestly, we couldn't imagine someone else wearing the number 25, given the contributions Barry has made to the franchise over the years."
Baer also cited Bonds' deep family ties with the Giants. His father, Bobby, was an All-Star outfielder with San Francisco from 1968-74. His godfather, legendary center fielder Willie Mays, is widely considered the finest performer ever.
Said Baer in a statement, "By officially retiring No. 25, we will not only pay tribute to Barry as the greatest player of his generation, but also honor the legacy of two of the greatest players to ever wear a Giants uniform."
Baer was asked whether retiring Bonds' number might capture sympathy from Hall of Fame voters who have resisted voting for him, primarily due to his link to performance-enhancing drug use.
"If it has that effect, so much the better," Baer said.
Bonds' vote total climbed to 56.4 percent this year, short of the 75 percent needed for induction to Cooperstown. He will appear on the ballot four more times.
Asked if Bonds' number retirement was a precursor to a statue being erected in his honor, Baer replied, "We're not there yet," though he added that club management is "open-minded to it." The franchise's five San Francisco-era Hall of Famers -- Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry -- are immortalized in bronze outside AT&T Park.
"I'm both honored and humbled that the Giants are going to retire my number this season," Bonds said in a statement. "As I've always said, the Giants and Giants fans are a part of my family. Growing up, Candlestick Park was my home away from home, and it is where my dad and godfather Willie played. For me to have played on the same field as them, wear the same uniform and now have my number retired, joining Willie and the other Giants legends, is extremely special. No. 25 has meant a lot to me throughout my career and it is even more special that I got to share that with my dad."
Bonds began his Major League career with Pittsburgh, where he played from 1986-92. He won two NL MVP Awards and three Gold Glove Awards as he led the Pirates to the NL Championship Series in three consecutive seasons (1990-92).
Following the '92 season, Bonds signed a then-record seven-year, $43 million contract with San Francisco.
The Giants currently have 10 numbers retired: 3 (Bill Terry), 4 (Mel Ott), 11 (Carl Hubbell), 20 (Monte Irvin), 24 (Mays), 27 (Marichal), 30 (Cepeda), 36 (Perry), 42 (Jackie Robinson) and 44 (McCovey). Christy Mathewson and John McGraw both predated jersey numbers, but they have also received this honor from the Giants.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.