About six months ago, I wrote a piece for Michael Clair’s annual blogathon to raise money for Doctors Without Borders titled “25 Greatest Barry Bonds Facts”. To this day, it remains my favorite thing I’ve written, and it’s a collection of statistical absurdities that I’m very proud of.
Today is Barry Lamar Bonds’ 50th birthday. In honor of this special day, I’ve updated all the statistics in my original list and brought it back here to CFBBQ. As many of you know, we here at the BBQ absolutely love everything that Bonds did for baseball. He is quite clearly the greatest hitter in the history of the game, and still remains remarkably under-appreciated a mere seven years after his final season with the Giants.
I’d like to think I’ve played a tiny, tiny part in the slow progression towards a full-blown mainstream appreciation for the incredible things that Bonds did on the baseball field. There have been sporadic “Barry Bonds Crazy Fun Facts” posts over the years, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Barry’s birthday has already spawned a few more of these wonderful collections earlier today, most notably Tim Marchman’s over at Deadspin.
Certain Bonds facts resonate more with certain people, for whatever reasons. These 25 have remained my favorite, but there is a decent chance I’ll have 25 new favorites by this time next year. The career of Barry Bonds is an infinite gold mine of mind-blowing statistical miracles; there’s a favorite Bonds fact for each and every one of us.
Without further ado, here they are. My 25 favorite Barry Bonds facts.
(all numbers as of 7/23/15)
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 at which he was dominating baseball will probably never be seen again. Barry Bonds drew 120 intentional walks in 2004 alone. 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 – 292 IBB’s
48. Mark McGwire – 150 IBB’s
142. Alex Rodriguez – 94 IBB’s
241. Alfonso Soriano – 68 IBB’s
356. Paul Goldschmidt – 53 IBB’s
442. Jeff Francoeur – 46 IBB’s
565. Casey Blake – 37 IBB’s
657. Clint Barmes – 32 IBB’s
787. Casey Kotchman – 27 BB’s
844. Jordy Mercer – 25 IBB’s
941. Eric Hosmer – 22 IBB’s
It’s unfortunate that 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 to 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 with 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.
15. Barry Bonds was worth 50.1 rWAR (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’ career WAR to this point.
Torii Hunter, currently in his 19th season: 50.8 career rWAR
David Wright, currently in his 12th season: 49.9 career rWAR
David Ortiz, currently in his 19th season: 47.7 career rWAR
Jimmy Rollins, currently in his 16th season: 45.3 career rWAR
How about a few Hall of Famers?
Orlando Cepeda: 50.1 career rWAR in 17 seasons
Larry Doby: 49.5 career rWAR in 13 seasons
Nellie Fox: 49.0 career rWAR in 19 seasons
Ralph Kiner: 49.4 career rWAR in 10 seasons
Jim Rice: 47.2 career rWAR in 16 seasons
Lou Brock: 45.2 career rWAR in 19 seasons
14. Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs. That’s how many home runs Jim Rice and Miguel Cabrera have hit COMBINED.
Some other fun career home run total combos that fail to top Bonds’ 762:
Alfonso Soriano + Darryl Strawberry
Jason Giambi + George Brett
Ernie Banks + Lou Whitaker
Carlton Fisk + Jim Rice
Willie Mays + Nate McLouth
Ken Griffey Jr. + Austin Kearns
Adam LaRoche + Edwin Encarnacion + Robin Yount
Troy Tulowitzki + Josh Hamilton + Giancarlo Stanton + Chris Davis
Rickie Weeks + Marlon Byrd + Lou Brock + Grady Sizemore + Miguel Olivo
Mark Kotsay + Pee Wee Reese + Mike Trout + Garrett Jones + Kendrys Morales + Mark Trumbo
Hank Aaron + Craig Gentry
13. Barry Bonds was worth 162.4 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’ 162.4, which is second only to Babe Ruth’s 163.0.
Ken Griffey Jr. + Brooks Robinson
Pete Rose + Ozzie Smith
Jeff Bagwell + Adrian Beltre
Robinson Cano + Mark Teixeira + Fred McGriff
Carl Crawford + Troy Tulowitzki + Joey Votto + Moises Alou
Aramis Ramirez +Russell Martin + Jose Bautista + Edgar Renteria + Yadier Molina
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. He was 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 match-up before I started freaking out about it. Lesser known is that Barry Bonds has the exact same 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”, I genuinely pity you.
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 12.1% of the home runs in the history of the San Francisco Giants franchise (est. 1883).
This is impossible to comprehend but yeah, it’s true.
7. From 2001-2004, Barry Bonds played in 573 games and reached base in 539 of them. That’s 94% of his games.
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 to Camden Yards. 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: 515 intentional walks in 108,759 plate appearances (0.47%).
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 reach 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, yet 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.