SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds gestures from his seat during Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Barry Bonds put up a lot of numbers. A lot of numbers that are almost literally unbelievable. Let's dig into them just a little bit, because do you really have anything better to do? I know I don't.
As many of you know, there exists a Rule 34 of the Internet: If you can think it, there is pornography of it. The rule has limitations as you become increasingly specific, but generally speaking it is uncomfortably accurate.
I don't know why that's referred to as Rule 34. I don't know anything about Rule 33, or Rule 35. I don't know if those rules exist. But if I may go so far as to propose an additional rule of the Internet, it would state that, if a baseball writer sits at a computer for long enough, he will eventually end up trapped on Baseball-Reference.
That's just the way it goes. I know I'm not the only one. Baseball-Reference is an infinite cavern of portals and crystals. It's an easy place to get stuck, and not because you don't know how to get out; more because, once you get in, you don't want to get out. It's an endless page-turner known to swallow not just whole days, but whole men.
I have my own personal rule, too. A rule that I think applies only to me. And that rule states that, once I get trapped on Baseball-Reference, I will eventually end up staring at the player page of Barry Bonds. It's not that I love Barry Bonds, or have particularly fond memories of watching him play. It's that his statistical playing record is practically unfathomable. Yeah, I know. I'm aware of everything. Still. What Bonds did, for so long, in terms of the numbers...I like to think that I've spent so many combined hours staring at his numbers because I'm still trying to convince myself that he actually happened.
Barry Bonds had an OBP of .609 in 2004! Over a full season! Joe Carter had a career OBP of .306! Barry Bonds' OBP in 2004 was twice Joe Carter's OBP in his career!
Bonds' main page and assorted sub-pages are obsessions of mine. I would rather look at Barry Bonds' numbers than any other player's numbers. Just to try to make you feel a little like the way that I feel, below please find a brief assortment of Barry Bonds fun facts. All of these things are true. That's what makes them facts.
There were 415 pitchers against whom Barry Bonds went hitless. Against those pitchers, he posted a .331 OBP.
I shared this one on Twitter a few days ago so I figured I might as well lead with it. Against those 415 pitchers, Bonds went 0-for-739, with 357 walks and 13 HBPs. Adjusted for park, over the course of Bonds' career, the league-average OBP was .333. So Barry Bonds basically posted a league-average OBP against these pitchers without ever getting a hit. Example: 0-for-3 against Horacio Ramirez, with seven walks. Bonds' OBP was much better against the pitchers against whom he did get a hit.
Barry Bonds posted an OPS+ of at least 150 for 18 consecutive seasons
I have to admit that I cheated on this one a little bit, because in 2005, Bonds batted just 52 times. But he hit five home runs that year and posted a 174 OPS+, so what the hell, it counts. Who knows if Bonds could've made it 19 or 20 or even more than that, since nobody signed him after 2007. In case you don't properly appreciate this fun fact, Kirby Puckett posted one season with an OPS+ over 150. Bobby Bonilla, too. Same goes for Cal Ripken, and Barry Larkin, and Tim Raines, and Johnny Bench. Barry Bonds. 18. (17.)
Barry Bonds dominated Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park despite its lefty-unfriendliness
Again, I'm cheating, because in this case not all the pertinent info is available on Baseball-Reference, but the Giants moved into a new park in 2000. That park is not particularly kind to left-handed hitters. Bonds played through 2007. He posted a 1.289 OPS in that park. Had it not been for that park, Bonds might have reached 800 home runs. He is probably okay with his 762.
Barry Bonds has a higher career WAR than Hank Greenberg, Willie Stargell and Andre Dawson combined
Feel free to substitute Whitey Ford for Greenberg if you don't feel like Greenberg is appropriate to include. I'm going off of Baseball-Reference's WAR, here, which is slightly different from FanGraphs' WAR, but not meaningfully so. The thing about Greenberg, Stargell, Dawson and Ford is that they're all Hall of Famers. So whether or not Barry Bonds officially ends up having had a Hall of Fame career, it can be said that he had three of them.
The lowest OBP Barry Bonds posted against any team is .375
The Cubs. Bonds faced 29 teams over the course of his career. He faced the Padres the most, collecting 1,148 plate appearances. He faced the Tigers the least, collecting eight plate appearances. His worst OBP against any of them was .375 against the Cubs. Barry Bonds never did face the Indians, so they have that going for them. The Indians never once had to get annihilated by Barry Bonds.
Barry Bonds drew the most intentional walks of all time, and more than second and third place combined
And it's not even close. Bonds was intentionally walked 688 times. In second place is Hank Aaron, with 293. In third place is Willie McCovey, with 260. Combined, they add up to 553, which is still 135 intentional walks short of Bonds' total. Someone who drew 135 intentional walks would rank 59th all-time. This doesn't include the 21 intentional walks Bonds drew in the playoffs. Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times in 2004 alone. Throughout baseball history, there have been just 130 player seasons with at least 120 total walks, intentional plus unintentional. Eleven of them belong to Bonds.
From 1990 on through the rest of his career, Barry Bonds laid down one sacrifice bunt
Bonds actually had four sac bunts in his career, but two of them came when he was a rookie, and another came in 1989. The fourth and final sac bunt came in 1998. It came on September 23, 1998, to be specific. With the Giants trailing the Pirates 1-0 in the sixth inning, Bonds bunted Rey Sanchez to second base. It was such a moment that opposing pitcher Chris Peters never forgot about it. Said Peters in 2007:
"I have it on tape," Peters said rather proudly.
"I'm sure he was trying to bunt for a hit," Peters said. "He didn't square around. He was credited with a sacrifice bunt."
That was the only bunt attempt on which Bonds was retired after 1990. Otherwise, he went 5-for-5.