Baseball – Barry Bonds Is a Whole Lot More Than Just a Home Run Hitter and Record Setter – Part 2

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

A day prior to Tom Glavine’s historic 300th career victory, Barry Bonds hit his 755th homer to tie Hank Aaron’s career mark, and Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player in major league history to hit his 500th homer.

Bonds’ record-tying Jimmy Jack (homer) was a 382-foot opposite field smash off San Diego Padre pitcher Clay Hensley in an away game.

When Bonds tied Hank Aaron with 755 homers, he had played in 343 less games than Aaron and had 2,596 less at bats.

Bonds would break Aaron’s record on August 7, 2007 with a 435-foot home run into the right-center field bleachers off Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals. His homer came on a 3-2 count.

At the time he achieved his record, Bonds had hit homers off of 447 different pitchers.

In addition to the new home run record, Bonds also holds the major league career records for walks with 2,540 and intentional walks with 679.

He holds the all-time single season major league records for most home runs (73), on base percentage (.609), slugging percentage (.863), and walks (232).

Barry Bonds is a whole lot more than just a home run hitter and record-setter.

He has been a record 7-time National League Most Valuable Player (next closest player has 3 MVP Awards), 3-time Major League Player of the Year, 14-time All-Star, 8-time Golden Glove winner and 2-time National League batting champion.

In addition to power hitting and excellent fielding Bonds also has something else going for him-speed.

Bonds is the only member of the 500-500 club, meaning he has hit at least 500 home runs (758 and counting) and stolen 500 bases (514 and counting). He is also only 1 of 4 players all-time to be in the 40-40 club, meaning he has hit 40 home runs (42) and he has stolen 40 bases (40) in the same season.

Many baseball fans and pundits feel that Bonds’ record is tainted because of possible steroid use, but the vast majority of San Francisco Giant fans love Barry Bonds.

Steroid use or not, he still had to hit the ball, field the ball and run the bases. Make no mistake about it, Barry Bonds is one incredible player; some would argue that he is the best baseball player ever.

At the top of this article I said that Glavine’s accomplishment was better than Bonds’ home run record. I said this because Alex Rodriguez at age 32 already has 500 home runs and, unless he has extraordinary injury problems like Ken Griffey Jr., will likely break Bonds’ record.

Despite his injuries in recent years, Ken Griffey Jr. has hit 590 home runs and counting. Griffey is 37 but a strong finish to his career (now that he is healthy again) could mean that he could break the all-time home run record before A-Rod.

The projections say A-Rod could top 800 home runs before he retires. Frank Thomas (known as “The Big Hurt”) smacked his 500th homer earlier this season and at 39 is much older than A-Rod.

A-Rod hit his 500th homer 8 days after his 32 birthday, surpassing Jimmy Foxx (32 years and 338 days) as the youngest player in history and 22nd player in history to reach 500.

After A-Rod jacked out No. 500, New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre said, “His prime years are ahead of him . . . this is a stop-off for him . . . not a destination.”

A-Rod may not be the last word in baseball, but he will be heard. Consider this:

Since 1996 (his first full season) through 2006 (11 seasons) Alex Rodriguez leads the major leagues in home runs, runs scored, runs batted in, total bases and extra base hits.

Of all players in baseball history at age 30, he is 1st all-time in both home runs and runs scored, 2nd in total bases and extra base hits, 3rd in runs batted in, and 4th in hits. The former Seattle Mariner is on fire and smoking hot. And check this out:

In his first 11 years, A-Rod has more homers, ribbies, runs and base hits than all-time leaders Barry Bonds (homers), Hank Aaron (ribbies), Rickey Henderson (runs scored) and Pete Rose (hits) did prior to their 30th birthdays.

A-Rod is also known for signing the richest contract in sports history, a 10-year, $252 million deal.

It is true that soccer wonder David Beckham recently signed a 5-year, $250 million deal with the L.A. Galaxy team; however, only $27.5 million of Beckham’s deal is salary, the rest comes from endorsements.

And Beckham cannot even win on the endorsement front as once-in-a-lifetime golfer Tiger Woods earns $112 million annually on endorsements alone.

(Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series.)