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Bonds' Relationship With Anderson Is Deep-Rooted

July 21, 2006|David Wharton and Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writers

The relationship between Barry Bonds and Greg Anderson started long before Bonds became a superstar in the major leagues, before Anderson became his personal trainer.

Their friendship -- the focus of an ever-deepening steroids scandal -- was born of simpler times.

They were kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, playing youth baseball, dreaming of bigger things. While Bonds was becoming a star -- even as a schoolboy -- Anderson was forging a reputation as a solid, if less-talented, infielder.

They eventually drifted apart, Anderson going off to play in junior college and then at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Former teammates remember him as an intense competitor, a muscular infielder who wasn't quick but could hit with power.

"He was really fit and worked out all the time," Todd Windholz said in a 2004 interview. "We'd be on the road and if some guys were going out to a bar, he'd say, 'Don't stay out too late.' "

Anderson occasionally mentioned his friendship with Bonds, teammates said, but never made a big deal about it. He seemed more interested in lifting weights and talking about nutrition.

His senior season, he played well enough to make all-region. A former coach, Steve Gillispie, said Anderson hoped to play professional baseball and asked for help in hooking up with a team.

"He was a guy who was a good college player," Gillispie said in 2004. "I told him, 'There are guys who hit like you do that run and throw better.' "

After college, Anderson told friends he was headed back to California. He resettled in the Bay Area and started a business called Get Big Productions. The license plate on his Chevy Tahoe read: "W8 GURU."

Working out of a gym in suburban Burlingame, not far from the Giants' ballpark, Anderson became a trainer and rekindled his relationship with Bonds.

He was often seen around the Giants' clubhouse. Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, once referred to him as "Barry's best friend in the world."

But when federal agents raided the BALCO offices in September 2003, announcing an investigation into steroid distribution among famous athletes, the nature of their relationship changed.

Since then, Anderson has served a short prison sentence for distributing steroids and money laundering, and recently spent about two weeks in custody for refusing to testify against Bonds.

Anderson was released from custody Thursday morning and almost immediately was served with a subpoena ordering him to testify before a new federal grand jury next Thursday.

Anderson will "absolutely not" testify, according to his attorney, Mark Geragos.

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