Baseball: Award adds final touch for Bonds

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The Independent Online

Barry Bonds was named the National League's Most Valuable Player for an unprecedented fourth time on Monday to cap an incredible season in which his 73 home runs broke the biggest season record. The San Francisco Giants outfielder received 30 of 32 first-place ballots and 438 points in the voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Bonds broke two of Babe Ruth's records, walking 177 times – seven more than Ruth's total in 1923 – and finishing with an .863 slugging percentage, 16 points higher than Ruth's percentage in 1920. He also broke the season home run record of 70 set three years ago by Mark McGwire.

"I just want to be wanted," he said. "Once you've won it a few times, the standards for you are very high. It's very difficult to achieve it again."

Now Bonds can start translating his statistics into cash as yesterday marked the day that free agents could start negotiating salaries with all interested teams. "The most important thing for me is winning," Bonds said. "I really want to have an opportunity to win. I've played a long time."

His new agent, Scott Boras, quickly modified his client's remarks. "Is this about money? Of course it is. This is a business," Boras said.

Bonds is coming off a $30.7 million (£21m), three-year contract and Boras is now seeking a contract of up to five years. Although his preference is to stay with the Giants, he is not averse to selling his talents to the highest bidder.

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