Barry Bonds has set some remarkable records. What is notable is not the fact that he set them, but that he broke the old marks by such a wide margin.
Babe Ruth was the most feared batter in baseball history until Bonds, late in his career, discovered how he could become even more frightening to pitchers than the Ruth.
Pitchers wanted to face Barry Bonds as much as a pudgy kid wants to face a naked salad.
In 2004, Bonds walked 232 times, shattering the record of 198 that he had set in 2002, after having already broken Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 170 walks in a season when he walked 177 times in 2001.
Barry’s new standard exceeded Ruth’s mark set in 1923, by 62 walks.
How many batters walk 62 times in a season?
Record for Intentional Walks
When Barry walked 232 times, 120 of the free passes were intentional.
Mickey Mantle has gained stature thanks to the realization that walks increased his on-base-average substantially, but the most intentional walks Mickey received was 23.
The most intentional walks Ted Williams ever received was 33, the most Albert Pujols has received is 37, and the most Henry Aaron received was 23. Ruth’s high is not known.
On Base Average and Slugging Records
In 2004, Barry batted .362 with a .609 on base average.
The latter is a single-season record, which broke Barry’s .582 set in 2002, which broke Ted Williams’ .553 set in 1941.
Babe Ruth’s highest on base average was .545, while Henry Aaron’s was .410.
Bonds’ set a new single season slugging average in 2001 with a mark of .863, eclipsing Ruth’s .849 set in 1920. Does greatness have no bounds?
Barry’s 73 Will Stand Forever
Of course, Barry’s 73 home runs is a record that, for reasons obvious to many, will never be broken.
Roger Maris’ 61 beat Ruth’s 60, and then Mark McGwire, who for some reason isn’t in the Hall of Fame, broke Roger’s record with 70.
That same season, 1998, Sammy Sosa also topped Roger’s record when he hit 66.
Isn’t it, as Mr. Spock might say, fascinating, that an increasing number of fans consider Roger Maris’ 61 a higher number than Barry’s 73?
Do those fans know something?
More than Twice As Many MVP's as Joe DiMaggio
But the most significant of all of Barry’s records is one that depended on those who don’t play the game.
Barry Bonds has won the National League Most Valuable Player Award seven times.
The most MVP awards ever won had been three, first accomplished by Jimmy Foxx and later equaled by Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, and Mike Schmidt.
Barry Bonds has won more than twice as many MVP awards as Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial or Mickey Mantle.
Corporate America is Ignoring Barry
Barry Bonds set his records playing in his home area of San Francisco.
He has set single season and career home run records, is the son of another great Giants’ player, Bobby, and his godfather is Willie Mays, the greatest player to ever play for the Giants, but corporate American does not want to take advantage of Barry’s accomplishments.
Why has corporate America chosen to virtually ignore Barry Bonds?
A spokesperson for a cereal that graces its boxes with pictures of great athletes announced a few years ago, “We simply have no plans at this point to work with Bonds.”
It seems that a possible federal indictment for tax evasion and perjury, marital infidelity rumors, links to alleged supplement use, and a combative attitude have made large corporations, the bastions of morality and fairness, shy away from Bonds.
Not even a bank too big too fail has made an offer to Barry.
It is comforting to know that if the government doesn’t protect the youth of America from immoral behaviors, corporations will.