Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Mike's Baseball Rants


10  09  07 
06  05  04  03 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
Links to MBBR
So What’s Next For Barry? (Besides the Obligatory Trip to Disney World)
2007-08-08 11:35
by Mike Carminati

Love him or hate him apparently most people hate him—Barry Bonds is now the home run champ. The career homer champ and the single-season champ.

Although he may not hold the career record nearly as long as his predecessor did (over 33 years). It is appropriate that Alex Rodriguez hit his five-hundredth on the same day that Bonds tied Aaron at 755. A-Rod just turned 32, and he leads the majors with 36 home runs. If he can match his career average over the next five years—a big if, I admit—Rodriguez will be over 700 before his 37th birthday. If A-Rod can remain healthy and effective until he is Bonds' age (another big if), he could be approaching a thousand dingers.

When Aaron broke the record on April 8, 1974, his closest competition, Willie Mays, had already retired in the offseason. Next in line was Frank Robinson (552) and Harmon Killebrew (546) both of whom were 37 and aging rapidly.

When Aaron retired after the 1976 season, there was no real competition to his crown. No one under the age of 36 was within 400 of his record. The biggest threat was Reggie Jackson, who at age 30 just hit 27 home runs, quite a bit in those days (tied for sixth in the majors), to bring his career total to 281.

Here are the active home run leaders at the end of 1976:

Name1976 HRCareer HRAge
Hank Aaron1075542
Frank Robinson358640
Willie McCovey046538
Billy Williams1142638
Willie Stargell2038836
Dick Allen1534634
Boog Powell933934
Carl Yastrzemski2133836
Jimmy Wynn1729034
Reggie Jackson2728130
Tony Perez1927734
Lee May2527333

Beyond Reggie were a few kids by the names of Mike Schmidt and Dave Kingman, who came in at numbers one and two for the home run title that year, but they were not within 600 of Aaron's record:

Name1976 HRCareer HRAge
Mike Schmidt3813126
Dave Kingman3715027
Rick Monday3216830
Graig Nettles3218031
George Foster297927
Reggie Jackson2728130
Sal Bando2719232
Joe Morgan2716932
Lee May2527333
George Hendrick259326
Jim Rice254823

Bonds' record comes with a built-in serf whispering "Remember, thou art mortal" in his ear. Then again, Barry is far from finished. He leads the majors in OBP (an amazing .495), OPS (1.064), park-adjusted OPS (179), walks (114), and intentional walks (34). Even though he has "just" 22 home runs so far this season, he is averaging one every 12.1 at-bats, third best in the majors. One can still make an argument for Bonds being the most feared hitter in the game at age 42.

Whereas Aaron hit just forty more home runs after breaking the record, Bonds could have another hundred under his belt when he retires if he remains healthy. Sadaharu Oh's professional record of 868 home runs may be within his reach. (Then again, Josh Gibson has been credited with anywhere from 800 to 1000 home runs in his career while his Hall plaque estimated it at "almost 800".)

Bonds projects to 33 home runs this season, which would be his most since 2004, but is still the least he has hit in a full season since his Pirate days (i.e., 25 in 1991—he hit 26 in 130 games last year and 33 in a strike-shortened 1995 season). Even at his current pace, it would take him another three years to reach Oh. He would be 46 by that time.

Aside from home run records, he has plenty of hitting records and/or milestones to keep him occupied until he is ready to hang up the arm brace. He now has 2915 hits. He projects to another 39 in 2007, which would leave him just 46 shy of 3000 hits. When and if he reaches the figure, probably some time before the All-Star break, he will be the 28th man to do so.

Bonds is fourth all-time with 5936 total bases. He has very little chance of catching Hank Aaron in this category at least. Aaron's 6856 total bases leads all batters. However, he projects to 6014 by the end of this season, which would make him just the fourth man to 6000 total bases. And number two is within his reach (Stan Musial at 6134).

Barry has 9774 at-bats and projects to 9913 by the end of 2007. There are just 24 men with 10K ABs in baseball history. Consider that Bonds has over 2500 walks to go along with those at-bats. He currently has 12512 plate appearances and can expect to 12713 by season's end. Another season would put him in the top five all of which accumulated over 13K plate appearances.

Bonds current has 1981 RBI and should become the fourth man in baseball history to eclipse two thousand by the end of 2007. His projected total of 2008 should be just behind Cap Anson's 2076. The top two, Aaron at 2297 and Ruth at 2217, might be a bit harder to reach.

Even though Bonds is thought of as an RBI man, it should be remembered that his 2212 runs scored places him third all time. He projects to 2243 by the end of the season, and he could own the record by the end of next season. Both #2, Ty Cobb (2246), and all-time leader, Rickey Henderson (2295), are within his reach within one healthy season.

Also, within his reach is the all-time extra base hit record. He is currently second (1432) behind Aaron (1477). His 2007 projection (1449) puts him one healthy season behind Aaron (I wonder if Bud Selig will attend those games).

Bonds is also second in times on base (5560), but has little chance of catching the all-time leader Pete Rose (5929). Even with his 2007 projection (5658), he will probably be almost three hundred times on base behind Rose.

Bonds has stolen five bases this season without being caught once, even so he probably cannot improve much on his 32nd place standing in stolen bases. His 514 still put him in elite company-just 36 men have stolen 500 bases. He does have almost 500 more home runs than any of the 31 men who stole more bases than him. The closes is Rickey Henderson's 297 HRs.

Of course, Bonds has already obliterated two other records, career walks and career intentional walks. His 2540 are exactly 350 more than the next man (Rickey Henderson at 2190). He will keep adding to that total with a 2007 projection of 2599.

His 679 intentional walks are almost 400 more than the next man (Aaron at 293 though they were not officially kept until after his rookie year). Bonds may break 700 by the season's end (he projects to 697).

All of the walks made me wonder. You hear steroids mentioned whenever Bonds' record is brought up, but very rarely do you hear that Bonds has broken a record while opposing pitchers have refused to throw him any pitches to hit. Using his 2007 projects, Bonds will be walked more than 1500 times more than one would expect given the league averages over his career. That's more than any other player in baseball history.

Here are the men who exceeded his league's walk expectancy by the most over the course of their careers. Their totals are broken down by unintentional and intentional walks:

NameBBIBBUIBBTPAExp BBBB Above Exp Per PA Exp IBBIBB DiffBB & IBB Above Exp Tot Per PA POS
Barry Bonds 2,599 697 1,902 12,713 947 955 0.075 1075901545 0.122 OF
Babe Ruth2062 206210616898 1164 0.110 001164 0.110 OF
Ted Williams20218619359791941 994 0.102 16701064 0.109 OF
Rickey Henderson2190612129133461080 1049 0.079 90-291021 0.076 OF
Joe Morgan186576178911329835 954 0.085 119-43911 0.080 2B
Mel Ott1708 170811337875 833 0.073 00833 0.073 OF
Mickey Mantle173312616079909850 757 0.077 5175833 0.084 OF
Frank Thomas*154716513829161755 627 0.070 56109736 0.080 DH
Eddie Yost16141515999175886 713 0.078 23-8705 0.077 3B
Harmon Killebrew155916013999831785 614 0.063 7288702 0.071 1B
Darrell Evans1605141146410737814 650 0.061 10239688 0.064 3B
Jim Thome*136413912257891649 576 0.074 5089666 0.084 1B
Mike Schmidt1507201130610062747 559 0.057 10695655 0.065 3B
Max Bishop1153 11535776500 653 0.113 00653 0.113 2B
Carl Yastrzemski18451901655139911096 559 0.041 10189648 0.046 OF
Mark McGwire131715011677660627 540 0.072 5298639 0.083 1B
Lou Gehrig1508 15089660870 638 0.066 00638 0.066 1B
Eddie Mathews1444107133710101757 580 0.058 7631611 0.061 3B
Jeff Bagwell140115512469431740 506 0.055 7679585 0.062 1B
Roy Thomas1042 10426575459 583 0.089 00583 0.089 OF

(* = through 2006)

Bonds has lose basically one plate appearance in eight over the his career to walks above the league average. Couple that with parts of two seasons (1994-95) lost to a strike. Bonds 1994 home run total of 37 project to 52 without the strike. His 33 in 1995 project to 37. That would give him another 19. With those projects, he would be finishing 2007 with 787 homers, 3,022 hits, 2,054 RBI, 2,293 runs (two behind the career record), 532 stolen bases, 10,136 at-bats, 12,986 total plate appearances, 6,155 total bases, and 2645 walks (706 intentional).

Giving him back the 1545 lost plate appearances due to the walks above expectations, that would project Bonds to 93 more home runs. Compensating for the strike and the at-bats lost to excessive walks, Bonds would project 880 home runs by the end of this season. Take that Sadaharu.

He would also have 11,342 at-bats #6 all time), 3382 hits (#8), 690 doubles (#5), 88 triples, and 6887 total bases (#2).

Apparently, however, it does not matter what sorts of gaudy numbers Bonds puts up could have put up. His fate will be determined by what happens (or maybe what doesn't happen) with the Balco case. He'll be tried in the court of public opinion, and in the eyes of many, he has already lost there.

It's sad given that we would like all of our sports records to be untarnished, unalloyed stories of personal triumph. Maybe that's a bit naïve. Who knows, given the widespread use of performance enhancements throughout sports and the apparently ever-worsening inability of organizations to catch those who partake in them, maybe in fifty years more jaded eyes will have less of a problem with Bonds' alleged missteps.

As for me, to channel manager Kid Gleason during the Black Sox trial, he is the best ballplayer I have ever seen. Period.

2007-08-08 17:26:23
1.   Telemachos
Pre-1998, was he the best player you'd ever seen?

To me, no. He was a great player, but the juicing pushed him into the un-godly territory, a place I don't think he would've reached without the steroids. IMHO, of course.

2007-08-09 13:24:29
2.   scareduck
I wish a big dollar contract on the Yankees and a crippling, hopefully embarrassing injury that causes A-Rod to miss ten years of his ten year deal. With Bonds fading into twilight, and Gary Sheffield soon to exit the scene as well, Slappy McBluelips provides a great player to unequivocally loathe.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.