Barry Bonds is the greatest offensive player I ever watched in my life.
Ken Griffey Jr. was the greatest all around player I ever saw play and Rickey Henderson was the player who affected the game more than any player I have ever seen and Kirby Puckett (before I knew about his off field life) was the player who gave me the most joy.
But Bonds had a baseball IQ off the charts and simply was to offense what the Big Bang was to the current state of the universe.
And yes, I think he took PEDs. And that doesn’t change my stance about anything I wrote above.
I have him as a skinny player in Pittsburgh when his running, defense and base stealing was part of his appeal. Going into 1990, he was a very good player with very good stats.
At age 25 he became quite bluntly the best player in baseball. If you simply looked at the traditional slash lines of batting average, homers and RBI, he was the best. If you looked at OPS, OPS plus, on base and total bases, which NOBODY was in 1990, he was the best.
If you looked at WAR for position players, which NOBODY was doing because it wasn’t invented yet, he led the league in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1998, all before he ballooned up.
You read that last one correctly. 1998. The year of Sosa and McGwire. The Sabermetric crowd would have crowned Bonds King in that year.
He finished 8th in the MVP vote that year.
Now I don’t claim to understand WAR… at ALL. But if the Sabermetric crowd was there to praise the worth of Bonds and have someone yelling “Forget Sosa and McGwire, the REAL greatness is in San Francisco wearing number 25.”
Maybe the temptation (need) to bulk up would not have been there for Bonds.
The odd argument has been made by me was that if everyone was doing PEDs, and I believe most were, then Bonds was the best of everyone then.
I remember going to games in Candlestick Park in 1993, Bonds’ first season with the Giants. The place was electric waiting to see what he would do from pitch to pitch. His stats were eye popping, his knowledge and intelligence were dazzling and the results were spectacular.
Was he a jerk? Probably. How often did that REALLY affect your life? His job was to play baseball and right to the end, at age 42, he hit 28 homers and posted a 1.045 OPS.
I stand by my thought that he should get one at bat. He is 4 RBI from 2000 and 65 hits from 3000. But it would also restart his Hall of Fame clock. 5 years from now, people won’t give a damn about PEDs and 5 years from now some of the old timers who hated him will join Ruth and DiMaggio into the mulch.
He was the greatest offensive player I ever saw.
He was also my dad’s favorite player. He loved watching him play and would not concede he even took Flintstone’s Chewables.
Today is my dad’s birthday.
This card is for my dad.