Samson: Barry Bonds’s Stint as Marlins Hitting Coach Was ‘Complete Disaster’

Former Marlins president David Samson described Barry Bonds’s one-year tenure at the franchise’s hitting coach a “complete disaster.”

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Former Marlins president David Samson called Barry Bonds’s one-year stint as the franchise’s hitting coach was a “complete disaster.” 

During an appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Samson explained on Thursday that he didn’t want to hire Bonds, saying he was “not worth the squeeze.” But, he was overruled by former owner Jeffrey Loria. 

“He had fun as a hitting coach because he would hang out with [Giancarlo] Stanton and give Stanton some pointers. But he was ineffective, completely,” Samson said. “He would sleep in the clubhouse. He would not pay attention during games. He did not work hard. It was a complete disaster.”

During his interview, Samson recalled that Bonds was combative and refused to accept less than $1.5 million—well above the typical salary for MLB hitting coaches. 

“It was the worst interview I’ve ever been a part of,” said Samson. “Bonds was an absolute pain in the ass about pay because he knew he had the job.”

Most of Bonds’s 2016 salary was reportedly paid off the books in an attempt to hide it from other employees. Miami deposited over $1 million in the former Giants and Pirates slugger’s private holding company.

However, the moment during Bonds’s tenure that stood out the most to Samson was when the hitting coach stormed out of the facility as second baseman Dee Gordon apologized to the team after receiving an 80-game suspension due to a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Ironically, Bonds was a central figure in MLB’s steroid saga of the early 2000s

“Barry Bonds, in the middle of the clubhouse, he’s standing toward the backdoor, he screams, ‘This is crap!’ and he walks out,” Samson said on Le Batard’s show. “I look at [general manager] Mike Hill and I say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Like Barry Bonds just stormed out as though he can’t believe one of the players did steroids? Is that really possible?”

Bonds had a reputation of being standoffish and difficult to work with, and according to Samson, it followed him to the Marlins. 

“That’s what it was like. It was all about Barry. We had to do so many special things for him in terms of how we traveled, the hotel and the suite and the food, the money. It was just an absolute nightmare,” said Samson, who spent 16 years with the Marlins. “He didn’t sell a ticket, he didn’t do anything to benefit the team at all. There were certain relationships with certain players that were decent, but no one got better because of him.”

The seven-time NL MVP retired as a player in 2007 after 22 seasons. Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record in August 2007 and ended his career with 762 homers. He has yet to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

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