The Independent Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things have offered a contract to Barry Bonds, according to officials. Bonds, the seven-time MVP, is the all-time Major League home run leader with 762, passing Hank Aaron (755 HR) during the 2007 season. Bonds owns the Major League Baseball single-season records for home runs (73 in 2001), walks (232 in 2004), on-base pct. (.609 in 2004), slugging pct. (.863 in 2001), HR ratio (6.52 in 2001), and HR pct. (12.06 in 2004). Bonds batted .276 with 28 home runs and 66 RBI in 126 games last season. Bonds sports a .298 career batting average and 1,996 RBI in 22 Major League seasons.
A move to the Wild Things’ organization would give Bonds the opportunity to return to the market where he started his Major League career. Bonds debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, playing seven seasons in Western Pennsylvania prior to signing a contract with the San Francisco Giants in 1993.
“Many of the great one’s eventually return to where their careers began,” said Wild Things General Manager Ross Vecchio. “Babe Ruth began his career with the Red Sox and then finished with the Boston Braves; Willie Mays started with the New York Giants and finished his career with the Mets; and, of course, Hank Aaron began and finished his career in Milwaukee (Braves & Brewers). This contract gives Barry the opportunity to play once again in Western, PA as he continues his career.”
According to the Wild Things, Bonds’ contract offer includes a base salary as well as a number of incentives. “He will have the opportunity to meet certain bonus levels based on breaking any Frontier League single-season offensive record,” explained Vecchio.
- Bonus Level A for hitting 36 Home Runs (record 35 by Morgan Burkhardt in 1998)
- Bonus Level A for 101 RBI (record 100 by Pete Pirman in 2005)
- Bonus Level A for 86 Base on Balls (record 85 by Burkhardt in 1998)
Bonus Level B for breaking single season record in any of the following categories: batting average, games played, at-bats, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, hit by pitch, and/or stolen bases
In addition, Bonds’ contract offer includes other considerations including a single king-sized room when the team is on road; 50% of all net proceeds of individual Barry Bonds/Wild Things merchandise; and The Wild Things will provide Bonds a host family if needed.
The Washington Wild Things, who have played in the Frontier League since 2002, are one of four professional teams (New York Yankees, Auburn (New York Penn League), and Kinston (Carolina League) and the only independent team to have advanced to post-season play the last six seasons. The Washington team has played to over 100% capacity each season, selling out 200 of 290 games since 2002. Seventeen former Wild Things’ players have reached affiliated baseball including pitcher David Bradley who reached “AAA” with the Oakland Athletics in 2006.
The Wild Things will open the 2008 season on May 21st.
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