Victor Conte, the founder of the Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (BALCO) that provided several professional athletes with performance enhancing drugs, believes Barry Bonds belongs in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bonds, who will return to baseball this season as the Marlins’ hitting coach, received 44.3% of the vote, up from the 36.8% he garnered last year. A 75% vote total minimum required for election. Only Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Class of 2016.
About 30 athletes in baseball, football and track and field were linked to Conte and BALCO. Bonds was one of the biggest names with ties to the lab.
Conte has said that he has no knowledge as to whether Bonds ever took performance enhancing drugs. Conte did provide drugs to Bonds's trainer Greg Anderson. The former San Francisco Giants slugger told a grand jury that he used a substance given to him by Anderson, but did not know they were steroids. Anderson went on to serve jail time for refusing to testify in Bonds' case investigating whether his statement was a lie.
A federal jury later indicted Bonds on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in April 2011. In 2015, Bonds's conviction was overturned. Conte served four months in federal prison and and four months house arrest after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering.
In 2009, Conte was working on a book titled BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion and What We Can Do to Save Sports, which was never published. He is now an advocate for clean sport.
Bonds has never been punished by Major League Baseball for performance enhancing drugs as he has never failed any drug test.