SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Home run record holder Barry Bonds, the biggest name in baseball, will leave the San Francisco Giants at the end of this season, the player said on Friday.
Bonds said on his personal website (http://barrybonds.mlb.com) that the Giants had told him he would not be playing for them in 2008 but added he intended to continue in the game.
“Yesterday (Thursday), I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season.
“During the conversation with (Giants owner) Peter McGowan I was told that my play this year far exceeded any expectations the Giants had, but that the organization decided this year would be my last season in San Francisco,” said Bonds, who has been with the Giants since 1993.
“Although I am disappointed, I’ve always said baseball is a business — and I respect their decision.
“However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last-minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago,” he added.
Bonds hit his 756th homer, beating Hank Aaron’s Major League Baseball record, in the Giants’ game against the Washington Nationals on August 7.
However, the record has been surrounded by controversy because many baseball fans suspect Bonds, 43, may not have spoken truthfully when denying steroid use.
Bonds remains under investigation as to whether he lied about past steroid use to the grand jury in the BALCO sports doping case.
The slugger said on Friday that he intended to continue in the game with another team.
“I would have loved nothing more than to retire as a Giant in the place where I call home and have shared so many momentous moments with all of you, but there is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career.
“My quest for a World Series ring continues,” he added.
Bonds, who now has a career total of 762 home runs, played this season on a one-year contract which the Giants said was worth $15.8 million, with potential incentives of another $4 million.
Despite his contributions, the Giants have endured a difficult season and went into Friday’s games bottom of the National League’s West Division with a 67-86 record.