Barry Bonds on Sunday revealed he nearly signed with the New York Yankees when he was a free agent in between his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.
In 1992, Bonds led the majors with a .456 on-base percentage, a .624 slugging percentage and a 1.080 OPS. He had 34 home runs and was an MVP and an All-Star for a second time. New York was coming off a season in which they were 76-86 and had not made the playoffs at the time since 1981.
Bonds explained to Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez on ESPN’s simulcast of the Yankees’ matchup with the Boston Red Sox.
“It was very close for about 15 or 20 minutes because what happened was and I tell people the true story, the Yankees offered me the same contract Ryne Sandberg had at the same time or a little bit more than that,” Bonds explained.
“Unfortunately, they said you have until 2 o’clock this afternoon to make a decision and I just said I’d get back to you about it and I went off to go grab something to eat because I’m like ‘wow, that was kind of strange.’ I didn’t think anything of it, I just went ‘wow that’s kind of strange.’ And I just went to go grab some lunch and then by the time I got to the place to go get something to eat my agent called me back and the San Francisco Giants offered a higher contract and I said ‘this is great, I want to go home.’”
Bonds would have joined a Yankees team with Buck Showalter as the manager, with Don Mattingly and Paul O’Neill leading the offense. Bernie Williams would have been in his third season. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera were not around just yet.
Bonds signed a record six-year, $43.75 million contract with the Giants instead. He would win five more MVPs and set the record for home runs in a single season and for a career, though his career was synonymous with the steroid era of the sport.