A lot goes into the “greatest at an individual sport” discussions. And in a lot of arguments people will only look to use certain “numbers” or “accolades” to help justify their case. Well, here at Clocker Sports and especially this devoted baseball fanatic. I like to take everything into consideration and when we are talking about the legends of the game, regardless of sport people do not talk enough about the stories.
The moments where these unique athletes shift the whole making of the game to where it is truly different for them. Michael Jordan and his unique competitiveness is an example. The stories of him shooting 18 holes and betting his buddy that day that he will drop 40 on the Cavaliers are the things of actual Legends. Barry Bonds is no different. But if you need to be reminded of his greatness let’s take a look at his accolades first.
The G.O.A.T.’s Name is Barry Bonds
Bonds is a 14 time all star, 12 time silver slugger, Two time batting champion, Seven time MVP (most of all time) and especially in today’s game where scouts and evaluators only seem to care about being able to produce offensively. Bonds is an 8 time Gold Glover. He is the all time home run leader and the only member of the 500/500 club which is home runs and stolen bases respectively. Yes do not worry old school baseball fan, we know what you are going to say next.
“But he did steroids.”
Yes you are right, but guess what? remember when baseball was dying as a sport? and no one seemed to care. Then there was this magical summer in 1998 where it was reborn? yeah they all did steroids and guess what? I do not care. When I pay for a ticket to a game, I want to go see the ball fly out of the park. That is the beauty of baseball. David Wells has come out and suggested that “25-40 Percent” of Major Leaguers are using them and Jose Canseco claims at least “80 percent” of players were using them.
Also Steroids help with your recovery, they do not help you hit a baseball. Sure, they help you work out longer and stronger due to being able to recover quicker but none the less. The ability to turn on an 99 mile per hour fastball is still all Bonds and his natural skill which before he had taken steroids was already on par with the hall of fame.
Another benefit of steroids is that as a spectator you will get the most optimal Barry Bonds or whatever player you were watching possible. Yes the hard earned money you work for and complain about how little it is. You will now get to see the best performance possible. Which is what we all want. Now let us dive into the numbers.
Barry Bonds numbers are just plain and simply gaudy. He has the most home runs at 763. He is 6th all time in runs batted in. He is Third in all time OPS (On Base plus Slugging) and for you sabermetrics people he is number one in WAR rating for position players. Bonds’ OBP is sixth all time and the five players above him all played before 1960. Which we all know the competition was weaker back then. In an era which was clouded by steroid use. Bonds shined statistically. He set the all time single season record in 2001 with 73 bombs and leaving everyone in shock.
If you have been paying attention to baseball recently you will know that on base percentage is all of the rage. Well in the last decade there are only three players to reach base more than 45 percent of the time. Barry Bonds accomplished that feat nine times. He also had a year where he reached base over 60 percent of the time (.609 in 2004) he also eclipsed the 50 percent mark 4 times.
he man just got on base and that was mostly due to being walked because pitchers did not want to even deal with him at the plate. I am going to explain more about that in the next part of this article. None the less Barry Bonds put up the numbers to defend his rightful place as the greatest of all time.
The Stories that are told
Last, but not least the stories. Now this is the portion I believe puts you over the top. Like Jordan in basketball, Bonds has some stories that would make you scratch your head. There was a game in 1998 where the Arizona Diamondbacks were playing the San Fransisco Giants, and Bonds came up to the plate with the bases loaded and the Diamondbacks thought it was a better idea to give up one run instead of 2 or more, and intentionally walked Bonds with the bases loaded. Now the Diamondbacks were correct. They won the game 8-7 after forcing the man behind Bonds to hit.
Another instance happened in 2004 against Eric Gagne (Another well known steroid user) faced off against Bonds with 3-0 leading. Rewind a little bit back in time where Gagne and Bonds had a gentleman’s agreement about facing each other. Bonds complained that no one wanted to face him and he was not wrong. Gagne gave his stipulations and said he would face Bonds if the correct situation ever arose. Well in 2004 it did. Gagne Blew Two heaters over 100 miles per hour and Bonds took them like. Down 0-2, Bonds holds off on an off speed pitch that could not have missed the zone by more than a centimeter.
Bonds now knew what was coming. Bonds was then early on 101 mile per hour fastball on the inside zone and yanked it foul into McCovey Cove. Gagne then comes back with the fastball and Bonds squares it up for another signature majestic Barry Bonds bomb. Bonds was one of the most cerebral minds in the game. He knew how to put the pitchers in compromising positions in which they would have to pitch him and he made them pay.
A G.O.A.T. Named Bonds
During his career Bonds was one of the most feared hitters in the game. Like I mentioned above, Bonds was walked with the base loaded by choice. Even though he never won a title, I really do not hold that against him because baseball is all about timing and if you are up to the moments when duty calls upon you. Do not make no mistake about it. Bonds put on a show in the 2002 post season where he hit Eight Home Runs and and half of them came in the World Series.
He may appear tainted but Bonds was the best among those in his era (who were also on steroids) which gives him his rightful spot in the greatest of all time debate.