After graduating from college, he was drafted by Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1985 Major League Baseball Draft. His mastery over the game earned him the July 1985 player of the Month for the League title.
He made his major league debut in 1986. Same year, he led the National League rookies, finishing sixth as the Rookie of the Year. In his early years as a professional baseball player, he honed his skills continuously, improving his hitting average and bettering his home runs record.
His impressive power play and grasp over technicality won Pirates the National League East title for three consecutive seasons. No sooner his reputation as a star player was established.
In the 1993 season, upon becoming a free agent, he traded himself off to San Francisco Giants, which seemed to be a home team for him, given the fact that both his father and godfather played for it.
During his time with the San Francisco Giants, he continuously refined his abilities, proving to be a dynamic hitter and breaking records. He won his third MPV award overall, finishing the 1993 season with .336 hitting average, 46 home runs and 123 RBI.
For seasons 1994 and 1995, his records somewhat dwindled as he finished fourth and twelfth respectively in the MPV voting. His batting average even declined to .294. Interestingly, baseball apart, he was seen playing a small role as himself in television-film, ‘Jane’s House’.
In the 1996 season, he made a strong comeback, becoming the first National League player and the second Major League player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases. He broke several more records in the year, becoming fourth player to steal 300 bases and hit 300 home runs for a career.
Though in 1997, his batting average dipped to a then all-time career low of .291, he had successfully hit 40 home runs for a consecutive second time, droving in 101 runs and leading with 145 walks.
He bettered his batting average for 1998, securing .303 with 37 home runs and drove in 122 runs. With this, he became the first player to have a career total of 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. Same year, he became the fifth player in baseball history to be given an international walk.
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In the new millennium, he hit a batting average of .306 with a percentage of .688 hitting 49 home runs in just 143 games, drawing a league-leading 117 walks. In 2001, he furthered his own records making new personal bests and world records.
In 2001, he had hit 39 home runs by the All-star break, drew a major league record 177 walks, and had a .515 on-base average. His slugging percentage stood at .863 ending the season with a major league record of 73 home runs.
In 2002, he renewed his contract with the Giants for yet another five year term for a record $90 million. He had hit 46 home runs in 403 at bats. Same year, he secured the NL batting title with a career high of .370. He finished the year with 198 walks and slugging average of .799. He also struck his 600th home run same year.
For the 2003, season, he had hit 45 home runs in just 390 at-bats, along with a .341 batting average. He slugged .749, walked 148 times, and had an on-base average of .529 for the third straight year.
Year 2004 marked a year of personal bests for him as he won his second National League title. He slugged .812 and secured an on-base average of .609. Same year, he hit his 700th home run, eventually securing his fourth straight MPV award and seventh in total.
Before the onset of 2005 season, the steroid controversy filled up the media with rumors of him having performance-enhancing drugs doing the rounds. Despite this, he secured a $22 million deal in Major League Baseball, which was the second highest salary. However, he was down with knee injury and suffered from multiple surgeries, and rehabilitation
In 2006, he equalled Babe Ruth’s hitting his 714th career home run on May 20th eventually surpassing the latter’s record by scoring a run against Colorado Rockies pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim to make his overall home run total stand at 715. Later in September, he tied with Henry Aaron's National League career home run record of 733 which he surpassed a day later making NL career home run record
Year 2007 was a historic year in baseball history and his career. He finally broke Aaron’s home run record by scoring his 756th home run off Mike Bacsik in San Francisco. With this, he became an all-time career home run record holder, outperforming Henry Aaron. He ended the season with .276 batting average, 28 home runs, and 66 RBIs in 126 games and 340 at bats
His contract with the Giants ended on September 21, 2007. Filing for a free agency, he however, was not signed by any of the teams for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. As of 2010, he maintained his stand of not being retired.
His illustrious career has been decorated with numerous distinctions and records, including the all-time Major League career record of 762 home runs, 2, 558 walks and 688 international walks. Furthermore, he has an on-base percentage of .444, 2, 227 runs, 1, 440 extra-base hits, 5, 976 total bases and 12.92 at-bats per home run.
He is the only player in the 500-500 club with 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases. Additionally, he is the fourth player in baseball history to rank in the 40-40 club with 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same season.