WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The photos seem to say it all — showing Barry Bonds going from a trim 185 pounds (83.9 kg) in 1991 to a bloated 228 (103.4 kg) in 2001, when he hit 73 home runs.
Fans and critics say the weight gain alone is evidence that Bonds must have used illegal steroids to build muscle, strength and endurance.
Bonds, 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday and was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.
The indictment accused Bonds of lying about his use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances during his testimony before a grand jury that was investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative.
Experts agree that using certain anabolic steroids can increase muscle mass and strength.
In September, physicist Roger Tobin of Tufts University in Boston said steroids could help batters hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent,
He said 10 percent more muscle mass would help a batter swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball’s speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.
“A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent,” Tobin said.
But this gain in muscle comes at a cost — ranging from acne to sexual side-effects.
“Strange as it may seem, (anabolic steroids) in some ways make men more like women and women more like men. For women their breasts shrink, their menstrual periods become irregular, and their clitoris enlarges,” Dr. Don Catlin, a University of California Los Angeles steroid expert, told Congress in 2004.
“For the men their breasts enlarge, their testicles shrink, sperm production declines then stops altogether and they are sterile.”
Records show Bonds as a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1986 weighing a trim 185 pounds (83.9 kg). He stayed at 185 pounds until 1991, when his listed weight rises to 190 pounds (86.2 kg) and it shot up suddenly to 206 (93.4 kg) in 1997 — more than a 10 percent rise in weight.
In 2001 he weighed 228 pounds (103.4 kg) and smacked 73 home runs.
At 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 185 gave Bonds a body mass index (BMI) of 23.8 — good fighting trim for a well-muscled athlete.
But at 228 pounds, he is on the borderline of obesity even for an athlete, with a BMI of 29, according to government height and weight tables.
Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Will Dunham and Philip Barbara