This post is part of the 2014 Blogathon to support Doctors Without Borders. Please donate what you can, even a dollar, to help them continue their mission of providing independent, impartial aid across the globe.
Hey internet friends. I’m Jordan Shusterman, one half of the ridiculous blog, Cespedes Family Barbecue. If you haven’t figured out that CFBBQ consists of two people yet, that’s fine; we appreciate those that choose to bathe in the mass confusion surrounding one Twitter account shared by two different people. Anyway, I’m the one who tweets 98% of the Barry Bonds stats and stories that a wonderful number of you have quickly come to appreciate, and an equally wonderful number of you have just as quickly come to despise.
I, along with my co-founder Jake (who wrote about The Wire for this year’s blogathon), were born in the year 1995. We are college freshmen. Unfortunately, our memories of Barry Bonds doing unspeakable things on baseball fields across North America are limited to fleeting images of his milestone home runs and painful hours of watching the media tear him to shreds shortly after he was essentially forced out of Major League Baseball. Fortunate enough for me, we live in an era where an unprecedented number of baseball statistics are counted, sorted, ranked, and discussed across a multitude of internet mediums.
The career of Barry Bonds is one that has obviously already been drooled over on a number of occasions. A little over a year ago, Jonathan Bernhardt of Sports On Earth wrote about why Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of all time. Last year, for this same blogathon, Grant Brisbee wrote a passionate, poetic piece about Barry Bonds. Back in 2012, Jeff Sullivan wrote an abbreviated piece about some of his favorite Barry Bonds statistical absurdities.
In my attempt to add to the hopefully ever-growing collection of Barry Bonds magic here on the internet, I present to you my top 25 favorite Barry Bonds facts.
(subject to change)
25. For his career, Barry Bonds was 0-3 with 3 K’s against Rick Ankiel
…and it was all in one game. June 20th, 2000. In his first plate appearance against the then 20 YEAR OLD Ankiel, Bonds worked Ankiel to a full count before striking out swinging. In his second plate appearance, Ankiel struck him out swinging on three pitches. In his third and final plate appearance against, again, RICK ANKIEL, Barry Bonds struck out looking on three pitches. They would never face each other again. Rick Ankiel is one of two pitchers to have faced Barry Bonds four times or less and strike him out three times. The other one is Bartolo Colon. Bonds also only faced Bartolo for one game; June 12th, 2003 against the White Sox. First AB: strikeout swinging. Second AB: strikeout swinging. Third AB: strikeout swinging. Fourth AB: home run to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning.
24. Craig Biggio drove in 1,175 runs in his 20 year career. Barry Bonds’ home runs alone drove in 1,174 runs
It’s almost like Barry Bonds hit a lot of home runs or something.
- Barry Bonds: 46.6 fWAR
- New York Mets: 46.6 fWAR
- Milwaukee Brewers: 45.3 fWAR
- Kansas City Royals: 31.0 fWAR
- Detroit Tigers: 30.9 fWAR
- Montreal Expos: 30.7 fWAR
2001-2004 was a fun time for Mr. Bonds, and this list makes that very clear. The level to which he was dominating baseball will probably never be seen again. Barry Bonds drew 120 intentional walks in 2004 alone. Meanwhile, I was being forced to memorize the Declaration of Independence in 4th grade. Speaking of intentional walks…
22. Barry Bonds has the most intentional walks in baseball history by a hilariously wide margin.
Here’s the leaderboard:
1. Barry Bonds - 688 IBB’s
2. Hank Aaron - 293 IBB”s
3. Albert Pujols - 275 IBB’s
54. Ryan Howard – 143 IBB’s
133. Jason Giambi – 95 IBB’s
243. Alfonso Soriano – 67 IBB’s
326. Lyle Overbay – 55 IBB’s
435. Jeff Francoeur – 46 IBB’s
554. Troy Tulowitzki – 37 IBB’s
626. Luke Scott – 33 IBB’s
744. Clint Barmes – 28 IBB’s
It’s unfortunate the intentional walks weren’t tracked until 1955 because I’m extremely curious how guys like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams would compare to Bonds’ obscene career total. But this is what we have, and what we have is the most feared hitter in the history of the planet.
21. 26.3% of Barry Bonds’ 12,606 career plate appearances ended with a home run or a walk
I like this one because it’s completely ridiculous. From 2001-2004, that number was 39.5%.
20. In 62 career plate appearances against Randy Johnson, Barry Bonds hit .306/.452/.551
Over the course of Randy Johnson’s career, RIGHT-HANDED hitters hit .224/.300/.362 against him. Lefties? .199/.278/.294. Bonds didn’t care for much for platoon splits, even if he was facing one of the greatest southpaws in the history of baseball. In fact, he hit .289/.417/.569 against lefties over the course of his 22 year career.
19. From 1993-2007, Barry Bonds had more intentional walks than the Twins, Rangers, White Sox, Orioles, A’s, Blue Jays, Royals, and Tigers
18. 49.1% of Barry Bonds’ 2,935 career hits were extra base hits
Barry Bonds ranks second behind Hank Aaron for most career extra base hits. To showcase how truly ridiculous this % is, here’s how it compares against the rest of the top seven on the all-time extra base hits list:
Hank Aaron: 39.2%
Stan Musial: 37.9%
Babe Ruth: 47.2%
Willie Mays: 40.3%
Alex Rodriguez: 40.9%
Ken Griffey Jr.: 42.9%
17. From 2003-2007 (ages 38-42), Barry Bonds stole 21 bases and was caught one time
At the beginning of his career, Barry Bonds stole a ton of bases as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There are only 14 active players with more career steals than Barry Bonds had in seven years in Pittsburgh. At the end of his career, Bonds stole bases at an unbelievably efficient rate. Who was the one catcher to catch Bonds during the final stretch of his career? Paul Lo Duca, on August 25th, 2004…after Guillermo Mota intentionally walked him with the bases empty.
16. Only four players have had multiple seasons with 30+ intentional walks
Albert Pujols: three seasons (2008, 2009, and 2010)
Willie McCovey: two seasons (1969 and 1970)
Ryan Howard: two seasons (2006 and 2007)
Barry Bonds: ten seasons (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007)
There have only been 26 single-seasons of 30+ intentional walks ever and Barry Bonds has ten of them.
has ten of them.
15. Barry Bonds was worth 50.1 bWAR (baseball-reference’s version of WAR) over his seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That seems like an awfully high number. Let’s compare that to some active players’ full career WAR.
Torii Hunter: 50.1 career bWAR in 17 seasons
Mark Teixeira: 47.6 career bWAR in 11 seasons
David Ortiz: 44.2 career bWAR in 17 seasons
Jimmy Rollins: 42.0 career bWAR in 14 seasons
(relatively active) Miguel Tejada: 46.8 career bWAR in 16 seasons
How about some Hall of Famers?
Orlando Cepeda: 50.1 career bWAR in 17 seasons
Ralph Kiner: 49.4 career bWAR in 10 seasons
Jim Rice: 47.2 career bWAR in 16 seasons
Lou Brock: 45.2 career bWAR in 19 seasons
14. Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs. That’s how many home runs Hank Greenberg and David Ortiz have hit COMBINED.
Some other fun career home run total combos that fail to top Bonds’ 762:
Alfonso Soriano + Aramis Ramirez
Jason Giambi + Ryan Howard
Albert Pujols + Vernon Wells
Carlton Fisk + Jim Rice
Willie Mays + Mike Trout
Ken Griffey Jr. + Austin Kearns
Matt Holliday + Larry Doby + Robin Yount
Travis Hafner + Mark Reynolds + Josh Hamilton + Brandon Inge
Ken Griffey Sr. + Carlos Quentin + High Pockets Kelly + Lyle Overbay + Miguel Olivo
Barry Bonds + Ben Revere
13. Barry Bonds was worth 162.5 bWAR over the course of his 22 year career.
Let’s play that same game as we did for the previous fact and see what career WAR total combinations fail to reach Bonds’ 162.5, which is second only to Babe Ruth’s 163.2.
Ken Griffey Jr. + Brooks Robinson
Pete Rose + Ozzie Smith
Alex Rodriguez + David Wright
Miguel Cabrera + George Sisler + Fred McGriff
Dave Parker + Albert Belle + Phil Rizzuto + Moises Alou
Kevin Youkilis + Troy Tulowitzki + Edgar Renteria + Andres Galarraga + Darin Erstad
Babe Ruth + Yuniesky Betancourt
12. Barry Bonds’ career high for strikeouts in a season was 102. That season was his rookie campaign in 1986 as a 21-year-old.
I love this one a ton, but it also got me wondering how it actually compared against the other greatest home run hitters of all time.
Seasons with 100+ K’s:
Barry Bonds: one season (1986, 102 K’s)
Hank Aaron: zero (!!!) seasons
Babe Ruth: zero (!!!!!!) seasons
Willie Mays: one season (1971, 123 K’s)
Alex Rodriguez: 13 seasons
Ken Griffey Jr.: five seasons
11. Barry Bonds faced Guillermo Mota nine times: 1-1 with a home run and eight walks (five intentional). A perfect 5.000 OPS.
I was surprised by the number of people that were already aware of this lopsided matchup before I started freaking out about it. Lesser known is that Barry Bonds has the exact same slash line against submariner Chad Bradford; 1-1 with a home run and five walks (three intentional).
10. Barry Bonds hit this home run:
If you watch this home run, and the first thought that pops into your mind is “steroids”, you have no joy in your life.
9. Intentional walk leaders, 2001-2004:
1. Barry Bonds: 284
2. St. Louis Cardinals: 260
3. Montreal Expos: 252
4. Philadelphia Phillies: 237
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: 232
Unlike Fact #19, this is the top of the leaderboard. Sure, Bonds drew more intentional walks over a span 14 years than eight different teams. But from 2001-2004, Bonds drew more walks than EVERY TEAM. The Chicago White Sox were at the bottom of this list, having only drawn 100 intentional walks over these four seasons. Did I mention Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times in 2004? I did? Okay, good. Just making sure.
8. Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, and Willie McCovey account for about 12.3% of the home runs in the history of the San Francisco Giants franchise (est. 1883).
This is impossible to comprehend but yeah, math is math. Incredible.
7. From 2001-2004, Barry Bonds played in 573 games and reached base in 539 of them. 94% of his games.hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
6. Barry Bonds drew 1,870 unintentional walks and 688 intentional walks in his career. In other words, Barry Bonds walked 43.6 miles as a major leaguer.
That’s farther than walking from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. Rickey Henderson is second with 37.3 miles walked. Yuniesky Betancourt has only walked 2.4 miles.
5. This is the last intentional walk fact, I promise.
Barry Bonds: 688 intentional walks in 12,606 plate appearances (5.5%).
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Rays franchise: 471 intentional walks in 98,992 plate appearances (0.48%).
Yeah. So what happens first? Tampa Bay passing Barry Bonds in intentional walks, or Barry Bonds getting into the Hall of Fame? That’s the debate that needs more attention.
4. Barry Bonds is the only member of the 500 home runs/500 steals club. He’s also the only member of the 400 home runs/400 steals club.
This is the essential Barry Bonds fact. Learn it, know it, appreciate it, preach it, experience it, love it, and die with it.
3. The most times a pitcher faced Barry Bonds without allowing him to reach base via a hit or a walk is SIX.
That pitcher was below-average right-hander Geremi Gonzalez, he of the 4.93 ERA in 572.2 career innings. So what happened to Geremi Gonzalez, the one man in the history of the human race to face Barry Bonds a half-dozen times and not allow him to get on base? Two years after his final season with the Milwaukee Brewers, Geremi Gonzalez was struck by lightning. He died. I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.
2. Barry Bonds’ middle name was misspelled in his high school yearbook.
And he still looked awesome.
1. Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball-reference player of all time.
This isn’t about the Hall of Fame. It’s not about steroids. It’s not about cheating. It’s not about how many of his home runs were “legit”, or about “being an asshole to reporters”, or about the size of Barry Lamar Bonds’ head. My unhealthy love for Barry Bonds facts is the simple and obsessive appreciation for one player dominating the sport of baseball to an extent that many of us fail to comprehend in the slightest. It legitimately makes me sad that there are people that look at Bonds’ career totals and don’t get giddy, but rather, skeptical. Baseball is a game. Major League Baseball is also, at its core, a game. It’s probably one of the hardest games in the world and Barry Bonds made Major League Baseball look unfathomably easy. He scared opposing teams for over two decades until the entire league decided it was too scared to let him play anymore. In his final season, as a 42-year-old, Barry Bonds only played in 126 games. He reached base in 107 of those games and hit 28 home runs.
I think Barry Bonds was a pretty good baseball player. I hope you do too.
Jordan Shusterman is the co-founder of Cespedes Family Barbecue and the co-host of the Cespedes Family Barbecast. He is a freshman at the College of Wooster. He likes Barry Bonds and Carlos Peguero almost equally.
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