Whether you think he belongs in the Hall of Fame or not, Barry Bonds' numbers are fun
There's no reason to run over the cases for and against Bonds, so let's have fun instead
As we just about finish up profiling the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame candidates, we're left with just the two most polarizing candidates. Monday is the day for Barry Bonds.
Look, we know the score by now. There's a division and very few are changing minds. Many people think Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame and many don't. Those who don't can't possibly have any other reason than Bonds' ties to performance enhancing drugs, notably BALCO. Those who want Bonds in either don't care about PED use at all or would point to Bonds never having tested positive for anything with a testing system in place (me).
Given this, there's no reason at all to run through the cases for and against Bonds' induction into Cooperstown. It's a worthless and tiresome exercise, because there is just about a zero percent chance anyone reading is going to change his or her mind at this point due to the presentation of his career.
Instead, let's have some fun with Bonds' numbers. If you don't think it's fun because you get angry about Bonds/PEDs, just stop reading this and check out some of our other MLB content. There's plenty.
Off we go!
Bonds won seven Most Valuable Player awards. No one else has ever won more than three. Most of us already knew that, but just let it sink in for a second. MVP voting in its current form didn't start until 1931, but it's still a ridiculous factoid -- especially since a reasonable argument could be made that he deserved nine.
The on-base percentage
There have only been 19 .500 or better on-base percentage seasons in baseball history. Bonds has four of them, including the top two ever. The record is .609(!!!!) from Bonds in 2004. Think about what that actually means, to get on base 61 percent of the time. It's mind-boggling.
In that same season, 2004, Bonds drew 232 walks against 41 strikeouts. An astounding 120 of those walks were intentional. When he actually was pitched to, Bonds hit .362 with an .812 slugging percentage. He managed 45 home runs despite only 373 at-bats.
On that .812 slugging, it's one of just four .800+ SLG seasons in MLB history. Bonds did it twice and so did Babe Ruth. Bonds also has the fifth-highest SLG season ever at .799 (2002).
The most ridiculous number?
Also in 2004 -- this might be the most ridiculous stat of all -- Bonds reached base more times than he had at-bats. That's 129 hits in 373 at-bats with 232 walks, getting hit by a pitch nine times and reaching base on an error six times for 376 times on base.
The intentional walks
With 688 career intentional walks, Bonds has more than doubled anyone else in baseball history. At present, Albert Pujols is second with 307. In fact, if we took just the 120 free passes in 2004, Bonds would rank 83th all-time. If we took the 249 from 2002-04, Bonds would trail only Pujols, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Vladimir Guerrero in history. If we took only 2002-2004 along with 2006-07, Bonds holds the record.
Bonds has the top three intentional walks seasons in MLB history, five of the top seven and six of the top 10. He's also tied for 13th, tied for 16th, tied for 20th, tied for 26th and tied for 27th. Of the top 30 intentional walk seasons ever, Bonds has 11. The non-Bonds IBB record is 45 (McCovey, 1969). Again, Bonds had 120 in 2004.
There's just no one else even in the stratosphere.
The only players with a higher career OPS+ are Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. The only players with a higher OPS are Ruth, Williams and Lou Gehrig. Only Aaron, Stan Musial and Willie Mays amassed more total bases. Only Aaron, Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Cap Anson (though that's in dispute) have more RBI.
Despite playing in an era where strikeouts became much more prevalent, especially among sluggers, Bonds struck out 100 times just once in a season. It was his rookie year, 1986. After that, he only topped 90 strikeouts three times.
It wasn't all just hitting, though. Bonds also won eight Gold Gloves.
Also, Bonds had 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases. No one else in history even reached 350 in both homers and steals.
I think we'll leave it at that. Holy smokes.
Say what you will about Bonds' ties to PEDs or anything else off the field, but his numbers are possibly the most insane ever.
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