From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Monday, April 12, 2004

I suppose it was too much to hope....

That Bonds would go 0-fer-2004 for the rest of the year and retire short of Willie Mays. Barry collected HR number 660 tying his godfather for third place on the all time HR list.

I despise Bonds as a person, but have a lot of respect for his abilities as a player. One does not get to become the only member of the 500-500 club (career homers and stolen bases) without having some skills. It's for this reason that I have my doubts about whether he is on the juice, as has been widely speculated since the BALCO scandal. Someone correct me if there's a difference in types of steroids that would invalidate this observation, but if Bonds was juicing, wouldn't it in addition to making him stronger, also make him faster? And as such, wouldn't that also mean that he would be stealing more bases?

I mean, I'm not one to argue defending the surly SOB, but look at the numbers. Bonds had an injury shortened 1999 campaign in which he played only 102 games. He hit 34 HRs but hit a paltry .262. That was the first season he had fewer than 28 steal attempts since his third season in the league (can you tell I just bought myself a new Baseball Encyclopedia?). Since then, his steals have gone down and his power numbers have gone way up. Maybe he's just focusing on power more, and putting the base stealing behind him?

Yes the 73 homer season in 2001 stands out as a statistical anomaly even during the recent power surge. And Roger Maris' 61 homers wasn't an anomaly? Maris had 39 dingers the year before he set the new standard and 33 the season after. Those were the only 30 homer seasons in his career.

On the other hand, if you take out Barry's 73 homer season, and look at the numbers: 585 career HRs, 1605 RBIs. That would place him 1 homer behind Frank Robinson for 6th place all time, and 25th all time for RBIs, 4 behind Goose Goslin for 24th. And his 34 homer average over 17 seasons (excluding 1999) compares favorably to Hank Aaron's first 17 season (639 dingers for a 37 HR per season average, approximately).

The simple fact of the matter is, as much as I hate to say it, Bonds would still be stalking Aaron for the all time crown with or without that 73 homer season. This isn't a result of steroids. It's a result of the man having talent in baseball that really would be on par with Michael Jordan in football basketball (sorry, will not smoke crack while blogging in the future :-) amongst sports all time greats of the last 20 years. That is indisputable. Whether I like the man's personality or not, Bonds needs to get his due. He is, was, and will always be one of the all time greats. And today, I hope his father smiles down upon him from heaven. Barry has earned this. He should enjoy it. It is without a doubt his birthright.