Sportswriters over the past week have been announcing their support for Barry Bonds in his home run chase after it was announced last week that Bonds is actually white. Gaylord Perry, a teammate of Bobby Bonds on the 1960s San Francisco Giants, has acknowledged paternity of the slugger.
Bonds' true personal story has been compelling. At an early age he began painting himself so he would not look different from his family members and neighbors. His parents humored him and eventually forgot he was white. He kept it to himself got so used to being seen as black his self-painting became an unconscious habit.
While Bonds has been much criticized for using steroids, many prominent sportswriters have retracted their earlier brickbats. "Now he's baseball's Larry Bird," said Ray Sist of the San Francisco Queer Nation, "and if he would just admit he's gay that would really put him over the top. When blacks use steroids, that's cheating, but white guys have to just to equalize things."
While many have credited Bonds' hitting success to some genetic connection to Bobby Bonds, that explanation no longer fits. Instead it appears to be due to a combination of Bobby Bonds as a role model and all the practice hitting pitches from Gaylord Perry, who tried to remain in the life of the young slugger.
Some sportswriters remain dubious about Bonds. Prominent columnist George Will still holds out against him: "I don't care if he's white or black. Babe Ruth is still the greatest hitter of all time." Sist disagrees: "When Ruth was playing, everyone was white. Barry is doing this while competing with all those black guys, plus he has to hit past the Dominican shortstops. He's really amazing for a white guy. If he was gay, I'd vote him into the Hall of Fame right now!"