Card of the Day: 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds rookie

uu87fleerbondsbgs85So yesterday as I awoke from an early evening nap, I happened upon a golden nugget from Yahoo Sports — a story about Barry Bonds and the legality of HGH, and the classifications of the Cream and the Clear as NOT being steroids at the time they apparently were used by Bonds.

I could not do the story justice if I were to recap its substance in just a few words here. And honestly, you’re better off reading the real reporter’s story — he’s the guy who put in the hard work; I’m just a guy with a blog.

But what I’m wondering is if this story could change the way people thing about the All-Time Home Run King, and what this could mean for Bonds in our hobby.

For much of the last few years, Bonds has been a wild card in terms of collectability. Some speculated that his cards were great investments because so many casual collectors would be seeking his collectibles after he did the inevitable — take down Hank Aaron’s home run record — and would forever be loved for his achievements. But what we’ve learned is that there really was no better time to sell Bonds cards than right after he hit 73 homers in 2001; before BALCO became BALCO.

I think there was a short spike in Bonds cards in the minutes after he slugged No. 756, but even in the days after, his cards began to soften — partly because the interest from casual collectors was not there. And that interest, I believe, was directly tied to the on-going investigation into Bonds and performance enhancing drugs.

But what the Yahoo Sports story suggests is that what Bonds allegedly was taking during the time in question was perfectly legal. So my question is this: If Bonds is cleared of any wrong doing, will you as a collector feel any differently about him or his cards?

It’s almost insane how fast and hard Bonds cards have fallen. Sure, they never really reached the levels that rookies of Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa reached in 1998 as they surpassed Roger Maris’ record. But Bonds rookies, particularly the basic 1986 Topps Traded and this 1987 Fleer, were solid nonetheless.

Personally, I do not think Bonds cards are good investments. There are just too many negatives to help draw the interest of the majority of the market — many of whom dislike Bonds for many reasons. But I do think they are awesome collectibles. It would not surprise me to see Bonds cards, specifically his rookies, see a little gained interest should he be cleared of any wrong doing.

As it pertains to the ethics or legality of Bonds alleged actions, I do not see anything wrong with them if it is proven that whatever he supposedly was taking at the time was perfectly legal. If it was not wrong at the time, how can we pass judgement on him and call him a cheater when the substances he was allegedly taking were not illegal. In order to cheat, one has to knowingly be breaking a rule. In this case, there may not have been a rule against the supposed actions.

12 Responses to “Card of the Day: 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds rookie”

  1. Do you think he never took any illegal steroids from 2000-2007? The guy is a cheater just like the rest of them in my opinion.

  2. I don’t know what to think about that, Mario. Would someone as popular and good as Bonds be dumb enough to take an illegal steroid and jeopardize everything they’d accomplished? Maybe, maybe not. Some have already made up their minds about Bonds, and I can’t blame them. And to an extent I have, too. But I’m in the minority and am holding out and reserving some judgement. I want to believe that Bonds accomplishments were legit at the time during which they happened. The Cream and the Clear are illegal now, but if it turns out that they were perfectly legal (as that article and the defense suggests) at the time they were being taken, I cannot fault the guy for looking for an edge on the competition.

    I guess in my view, as much as I love baseball and the “integrity of the game,” the steroid era is a part of baseball history and we cannot dismiss everything that happened then. I think what this has taught us is that we can no longer take one era and effectively compare it to another.

    Bonds is not the same as Mays.
    McGwire is not the same Frank Robinson.
    Ichiro, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose share the distinct honor of being considered one of the best — if not the best — hitters of their respective eras, but they are all different.

    As baseball fans we like to compare players from different eras based on stats, when fact is the game has changed. The Steroid Era is a black mark on the history of the game, but we also must embrace it for what it was — an exciting and important time in the game.

    In terms of collectibles, I think the Steroid Era was a reality check, as well. As fast as cards can gain value, they can and will plummet even faster. What this has taught us collectors is that the only way to WIN in this hobby is to collect what your enjoy.

    You collect Canseco; I like Clemens and Caminiti. Two of the three were admittedly dirty and the third (Clemens) maybe be in the same boat as Bonds. But fact remains that we still collect our players and enjoyed what they accomplished. Ya dig?

  3. Bonds was great but let’s be honest, he was likely going to top off at about 500 home runs and he wanted more. Look at the immense size different from 1999-2001.

    There is even a chapter in Juiced which talks about Bonds asking Jose was he was taking after seeing him shirtless.

    As for Clemens, I don’t believe he began using them until late in his career, possibly when Jose joined him in Boston in 1995 and through the time in Toronto.

  4. OK, so if Bonds did take/use PEDs from 1999 to 2001 and they were legal under the guidelines at the time, does that make him a cheater?

  5. If he took a performance enhancing drug which was illegal (I don’t care about guidelines)….he is a cheater. Also, I don’t believe that he didn’t know what he was putting on his body. That is a cop out.

  6. I agree it is cheating if the drug/substance was illegal. But according to this testimony recently made public, it looks like the substances were not illegal; therefore Bonds did not lie when asked if he took anything illegal.

  7. Do you mean “The Clear”? If so, maybe he didn’t lie but I still believe he was jacked up on other Steroids. Nothing about Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa is legit to me and many other fans.

    To me the single season record still belongs to Maris. Shit, the worst thing he ever did (besides shun NY fans) is play in a handful more games than the Babe.

  8. Fair enough.

    I like the Maris take.

    I think all this Steroid Era talk also seems to legitimize the stars of yesteryear. Each era has to be judged in its own way, which is why the benchmark of 500 homers no longer means an automatic election to cooperstown.

  9. “Would someone as popular and good as Bonds be dumb enough to take an illegal steroid and jeopardize everything they’d accomplished?”

    You must be kidding. You know we are talking about Bonds, right?

  10. John Corey Says:

    ” Bonds like it or not does not have a very positve image. He is loved by his home town fans in San Francisco and disliked by just about everyone else. He does not go out of his way to help his image. If you look at his numbers they are super and even in the modern era he beats everybody.
    To see a guy hit 45 hrs and walk 200 times is simply amazing. As a baseball fan I love to watch this guy hit a baseball. Sadly he will never get credit for all his remarkable accomplishments because of the steriod era. But just look it up can anybody in the modern era juiced up or not did as well as he did? NOBODY can come close. In my opinion he has to be in the top five players of all-time.

  11. Look, if Bonds never took steroids, he would have been a top 20 player of all time.
    But he is an idiot and threw everything away because he wasn’t as popular as other players in the league that actually didn’t think the universe revolved around them.
    Bonds is a coddled moron.

  12. joe mama Says:

    barry bonds i think he did jucie up but i dont he is a cheat if the stuff he used was not banned by baseball..

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