Bobby Bonds dies at 57
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
August 23, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Bobby Bonds, one of the first major leaguers to blend home-run power with base-stealing speed and the father of one of baseball's greatest sluggers, died Saturday. He was 57.
Barry Bonds' father had been ill for nearly a year with lung cancer and a brain tumor, but he never lost his love for baseball. He was at Pacific Bell Park on Wednesday night, watching his superstar son and the San Francisco Giants.
Bobby Bonds died shortly before 9 a.m. PDT, a Giants spokesman said. Barry Bonds will be away from the team indefinitely.
``This is a great loss for the Giants family,'' San Francisco owner Peter Magowan said. ``We want the Bonds family to know that they're in our thoughts and prayers. Bobby has meant so much to this organization for such a long time.
``It will be strange not to see him in the clubhouse and working on the field with Barry and our other players. He will be greatly missed.''
In early June, Bobby Bonds spent time in the hospital while fighting pneumonia. He underwent surgery on a brain tumor in April, all while fighting lung cancer.
Barry Bonds, who leads the majors with 39 homers, left the team for four days during a road trip last week to be with his father.
Bobby Bonds, a three-time All-Star and the MVP of the 1973 game, hit 332 home runs and stole 461 bases for the Giants, New York Yankees, California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Texas, Cleveland, St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs.
He hit .268, had 1,024 RBIs and won three Gold Glove awards as an outfielder.
Bonds became the second NL player to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season in 1969 with the Giants. Willie Mays, his close friend and Barry Bonds' godfather, was the first to do it.
Bobby Bonds reached the 30-30 mark four more times in his 14-year career. Barry Bonds also has done it five times; no other player has reached the mark more than three times.
A native of Riverside, Calif., Bobby Bonds signed with the Giants in 1964 out of high school. He played seven seasons with San Francisco, and he was with the organization for 23 seasons as a player, coach, scout or front-office employee.
Bonds served as the club's hitting coach from 1993-96, and since then has been a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean.
Bonds is survived by his wife, Pat; a daughter, Cheryl Dugan; and three sons: Barry, Ricky and Bobby Jr.
Bonds' declining health in recent months had been a shock to the veteran Giants, who knew him as a friend and a wise presence in their clubhouse.
``There's a man who's been coming into this clubhouse since I've been here,'' Giants outfielder Marvin Benard said. ``He was my hitting coach my first two years. He's healthy and everything's great, and then, bam. It's been hard on us. I can't imagine what it's been like for Barry. It's one of those things that's hard to explain. There are no words to describe what people are going through.
``Heck, he's been around here forever. He played here. He coached here. His son, Barry, becomes what he is here.''
Funeral arrangements are pending.
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this story.