In a few months, Barry Lamar Bonds will go to trial for perjury in the BALCO hearings. There is a chance that he may be going to the big house, the pokey and his "Shawshank" may be in need of "redemption." He is not the first Major League Baseball player to spend time in the slammer.
I present to you four former big leaguers that have spent time behind bars. Barry, you might want to talk to these guys.
First, Rick Camp. Camp pitched for the Atlanta Braves when the team was really bad. His claim to fame in the show was a game-tying 18th inning home run on July 5, 1985 against the New York Mets, off pitcher Tom Gorman. In September 2005 Camp was sentenced, along with four other people, to three years in federal prison for conspiring to steal more than $2 million from the Community Mental Health Center in Augusta, Georgia. He is scheduled to have his parole end in May.
Second, Ron Leflore. First arrested at fifteen, he was ultimately sentenced to 5-15 years in state prison at the State Prison of Southern Michigan, usually called Jackson State Penitentiary, for armed robbery. Incarcerated, the first organized baseball league LeFlore played in was for inmates. Billy Martin, the legendary New York Yankee player and manager, then manager of the Detroit Tigers, was lured to Michigan State Prison by another inmate who knew Martin. The unorthodox Martin witnessed LeFlore's speed and strength, something that bloomed after LeFlore had given up drugs and drinking inside prison. Incredibly, Martin helped LeFlore get permission for day-parole and a try out at Tiger Stadium. In the summer of 1973, the convict impressed Tigers' management and the team signed him to contract in July, which enabled him to meet the conditions for parole. Since retiring from professional baseball, he has had two more run-ins with the law, both for non-payment of child support, including an arrest in May of 2007.
Third, Denny McLain, the only pitcher in the history of the game to win 30 games. Arrested for drug trafficking, embezzlement, and racketeering with Anthony Spilotro and later John Gotti Jr.. Attorney Lawrence R. Greene represented McLain before the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, where his RICO conviction obtained in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida at Tampa was reversed. He had another brush with the law with a conviction on charges of embezzlement, mail fraud, and conspiracy in connection with the theft of $2.5 million from the Peet employees' pension fund. McLain spent six years in prison. The employees would later recover the money that was owed to them.
Lastly, Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle. Rose pleaded guilty in April 1990 to two charges of filing false income tax returns not showing income he received from selling autographs, memorabilia, and from horse racing winnings. On July 20, Rose was sentenced to five months in the medium security Prison Camp at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois and fined $50,000. He was released on January 7, 1991 after having paid $366,041 in back taxes and interest.
So Barry Bonds has some company. Most of America hates him with a white hot passion because of his ego as well as his dislike for some of his teammates (Jeff Kent), his dislike for the media. He's also not exactly the most fan friendly player to wear a big league uniform. At the same time, he, like many of us, will have our day in court. Personally, I can't stand him but I hope that he gets a fair trial. After all, it is his right.
He may be found innocent. Then again, there's the chance that he may be guilty as homemade sin. I just hope he doesn't pick up the soap.