Claiming Barry Bonds’ steroid use was “out of hand,” the slugger’s former business manager said today he made a secret recording in the Giants’ clubhouse as part of a campaign to dissuade Bonds from using banned drugs.
Steve Hoskins, a boyhood friend of Bonds who was his business manager until a bitter breakup, said that in 2003 he recorded weight trainer Greg Anderson describing the array of steroids that he was allegedly providing to baseball’s home run champion.
Hoskins, the government’s second witness in Bonds’ trial on perjury charges, said he had spent years trying to get Bonds off drugs.
He said he made the tape for Bobby Bonds, the former Giants center fielder and Bonds’ father, as part of that effort.
“I was hoping Bobby would be the one who would stop him from doing it,” Hoskins said.
But Bobby Bonds died of cancer before Hoskins could play him the recording, he said. He later turned the recording over to federal agents.
During three hours of cross-examination, Hoskins insisted he made the recording out of concern for Bonds’ health – and not, as defense lawyer Allen Ruby contended, to avenge his firing.
Bonds fired Hoskins in 2003, the lawyer said, and then complained to the FBI that Hoskins was forging his name on memorabilia and selling it, the defense lawyer said. Ruby also charged that the government dropped the fraud investigation in exchange for Hoskins' testimony about Bonds and steroids. Hoskins, a slender man who spoke softly in court, claimed the government cut him no deals. He said his motives were pure.
“Barry’s a very good friend, a very good person and one of the best baseball players there’s ever going to be,” he said at one point.
“That was one reason (starting) in 1999 to 2000 I was trying to stop him from taking steroids – because I thought it was bad for him,” he said. At another point, he said of Bonds' alleged steroid use:
“In 2003 I was even more concerned because it seemed to be getting out of hand.” Hoskins said of Bonds' alleged steroid use. “I talked to people about it. I spoke to Barry. I spoke to Greg about it. I spoke to Dr. Ting about it, and also Barry’s trainers.”
Bonds occasionally jotted notes as his onetime friend testified. The two men rarely made eye contact.
The former Giants slugger, retired from baseball in 2007, is charged with five felonies for allegedly lying to the federal grand jury that investigated steroid dealing at the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in Burlingame. He has pleaded not guilty.
In that 2003 testimony, Bonds said he had never knowingly used banned drugs. The government claims Bonds was using designer steroids from BALCO, many of them provided by Anderson. The trainer has been imprisoned three times – most recently on Tuesday – for refusing to cooperate with the government’s probe.
Portions of the recording itself – loud, and with distorted sound and background noise – were played for the jury after Hoskins described making it, near Bonds’ locker early in the 2003 season. Bonds was not present, Hoskins said.
On the recording, the two men can be heard discussing “when Barry’s taking those shots,” as Hoskins puts it.
Then Anderson boasts that he is providing Bonds with undetectable steroids that will ensure he will pass baseball’s urine tests for steroids.
“The whole thing is, everything that I’ve been doing at this point, it’s all undetectable,” Anderson says.
"See, the stuff that I have ... we created it. And you can't, you can't buy it anywhere. You can't get it anywhere else. But, you can take it the day of and pee."
“Isn't that the same (expletive) that Marion Jones and them were using?” Hoskins asks.
“Yeah, same stuff, the same stuff that worked at the Olympics,” Anderson replies.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported on the recording’s contents in a story in 2005.
Hoskins, son of the late San Francisco 49ers lineman Bob Hoskins, said he grew up with Bonds on the Peninsula. They reconnected about 1993, when Bonds was signed by the Giants.
Over the years, Hoskins said he handled many tasks for Bonds, including the sales of autographed sports memorabilia.
Hoskins said Bonds kept as much as $100,000 cash in a safe in Hoskins’ business office in San Carlos, drawing on it when he needed money. By his account, Bonds would sometimes instruct the business manager to make cash payouts to two women – Kim Bell, Bonds’ longtime girlfriend, and Piret Aava, an Estonian model then living in New York.
Bonds also told him to make cash payments to Anderson, Hoskins said.
Hoskins said that in 1999, Bonds confided he was using steroids. The slugger told his business manager to consult sports orthopedist Dr. Arthur Ting about the side effects of the injectable steroid Winstrol, Hoskins said. Hoskins gave Bonds printouts of medical literature he got from Ting, but Bonds kept using, he said.
In 2002, by the batting cage at Pac Bell Park, Hoskins said Bonds began complaining that Anderson had refused to give him a steroid injection.
“Barry just said, if Greg wouldn’t give him the shot he’d give it to himself,” Hoskins said.