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Happy Birthday to the greatest of all time!

Jul 24, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT


Well, greatest at least from the 1970s forward. A good argument for the greatest since Ted Williams. Definitely inner-circle. Gotta be in your top five, no? Either way, he’s 49 years-old today.

And yes, I put this up to annoy you guys. Have at the Home Run King. He can take it. He can take it with those big, strong, muscular shoulders!

And for cryin’ out loud, let’s remember that baseball is just a game and it’s supposed to be fun. We argue back and forth and up and down about this stuff all the time, especially now when PEDs are in the news, but this stuff is not as important as your family or your job or any number of other things in life. Because, again: it’s a game.

And in light if it being a game, tell me having Barry and his fellow travelers to first watch and then mock and hate hasn’t been fun in some twisted way. You know it has been.

  1. kollin7 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Without even clicking on this article or having previous knowledge of what day his birthday was, I know it was going to be Bonds…..

    • kollin7 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM


  2. jtpercell - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Babe Ruth is the #GOAT.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Babe Ruth ate a goat.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        In between innings, then hit a home run.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        then he had a beer…………….

  3. tbutler704 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Drugs or no drugs, best slugger I’ve seen in my now 30-something years of watching baseball.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Yup. I’d take a shot in the butt in a heartbeat if I could hit homeruns like that.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        By the way, nice Photoshop job to make Bonds look WIDER, Craig. Funny that such a common image gets ZERO hits out of 3.1785 BILLION images on (

        Why stop at making Bonds look like a 400-pounder? Make him a 500-pounder for his next birthday.

  4. tigersfandan - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    It’s Aaron’s birthday? I didn’t know!

    • tigersfandan - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      By the way, that’s Hank, not Gleeman.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      you are so silly………….

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      The MLB home run king was born on Feb. 5, 1934, and is 79. He wore #44 and hit 755 of them.

  5. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I thought he was FANTASTIC in the movie The Fan.

  6. jayscarpa - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    He sure could hit.

  7. El Bravo - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    You imply that it is Barry Bonds’ birthday yet you depict a large monster in the image above for which I greatly fear and can’t understand.

  8. skerney - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    If you want to see video game stats that happened in real life look up Bonds 2004 season. They don’t make sense.
    Also, at the deadline that year the Astros got Carlos Beltran and the Giants countered with Ricky Ledee.

    Not that I’m bitter about it still.

  9. jtpercell - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

  10. cohnjusack - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Had his career abruptly ended in 1998 at the age of 33, therefore never having used steroids:

    411 HR
    1216 RBI
    1364 Runs
    445 SB
    164 OPS+
    3 MVPS
    8 Gold Gloves
    7 Silver Sluggers
    8 AS Appearances
    99.6 WAR (which would rank 21st all-time)

    And then his number got silly.

    • kevinbnyc - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      He was so good on his own. Makes you wonder why he ever used PEDs. Allegedly.

      • tbutler704 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        The story I’ve read is he got pissed off watching McGwire and Sosa assault the all time single season records while obviously doped up and decided why let some meatball like Sammy Sosa have all the fun since MLB is looking the other way.

      • yahmule - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:19 PM



      • yahmule - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        Instead of getting in on the fun, it’s too bad Barry didn’t call those bums out. He had the reputation. His word would have meant something.

      • kollin7 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Because he was already an incredible player. THEN look what happened.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        he saw slammin Sammy and McGuire hoopin it up and the crowds going crazy, he wanted
        some of that, funny thing is he never embraced fans or his team.

    • yahmule - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      And then people starting making silly assertions, like he was a better hitter than Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Musial, Mays, Mantle, etc. Kind of too bad that he tampered with his legacy. It would have been nice to know where he really ranked among the greats.

      I definitely do NOT wish the steroid era happened. I thought it was entertainment for people who really didn’t like baseball very much. Baseball’s glowing puck to attract the dispassionate. I’m sorry we had an empty suit in the commissioner’s office and so many empty heads in the player’s union to bring it all about in the first place.

      As to whether Bonds can take it or not. I guarantee you it bothers him to be barred from Cooperstown. Some people will scoff at that, but they’re kidding themselves.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      On point Cusack. But just curious…why (or how) did you come up with stopping his career in 1998? Also…Butler stated he read Barry got pissed at Big Mac and Sosa chasing the home run record and that’s why he started juicing. But I seem to remember Barry being as big as a house already. Specifically…unless I am not remembering correctly Barry was just as big or bigger than those dudes during this timeframe. No?

      • cohnjusack - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Game of Shadows alleges he began using after the 1999 season. That is my only source.

  11. jimmywho14 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM


  12. Stiller43 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:14 PM….0…

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Just go to binary, it’ll be easier to understand.

  13. kicksave1980 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    I admit my bias in that I don’t like Bonds (including pre-steroids), even though he was a fellow Sun Devil. I’ll give him his due, he was a great player, and electrifying to watch. I will get thumbed down for this, but I always thought his fielding was overrated because he had NO arm. Absolute rag arm. Sid ‘knee replacement’ Bream agrees, I’m sure.

  14. heyblueyoustink - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Bryce Haper’s birthday is today? Wow, Nattitude.

    • yahmule - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      I thumbed this up for the sheer audacity.

  15. hcf95688 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    I wouldn’t piss on Bonds if he was on fire.

    • cohnjusack - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      Me neither. I’d probably use a blanked for a fire extinguisher or something. Failing that, advise him to stop, drop and roll. Those all seem much more effective than pissing oh him.

      • yahmule - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        I’m just more protective of the wee mule than to expose him to open flame. Especially the flames emanating from a burning human, as they are prone to thrashing about.

  16. nobody78 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Yes, BB has an excellent case for being the greatest modern era baseball player. In WAR, he trails only Babe Ruth and a couple of dead ball era pitchers – C Young and Walter Johnson. And the latter two, he trails by just a couple of WAR each.

    But of course, the big issue with Bonds is PEDs. Can we imagine what his career would have looked like WITHOUT PED use, and where he might have stood then? Let’s take a guess. From 2001, the 73 home run year, until the end of his career, Bonds accumulated about 51 WAR. Deduct that from his total, and it…

    *This exercise is beyond ridiculous. First of all, we do not have any kind of sense of how PEDs impact a player’s performance statistically. They probably have some, but we have no data on that and any guesses you make are going to be just that — guesses. And even if you could, you’re not even BEGINNING to address the question of whether the other players you’re discussing might have been using steroids or HGH themselves, not to mention greenies. Furthermore, what is the “about 60 WAR” stuff? You’re not even going to spend the 12 seconds it would take to add the actual numbers?*

    *Also, you’re deducting 51 WAR?? So basically, you’re assuming that Bonds would have had exactly the same career that he did, up until 2000, which is when you decided he started using PEDs, and that if he hadn’t used PEDs, he would have accumulated ZERO WAR from that point until the end of his career? So PEDs were responsible for 100% of his performance? Do you even understand how WAR is calculated? Why are you wasting our time with this?*

    Right, all good points.

    So deduct 51 WAR from 162 and you get 111 WAR for his career. If that were Bonds’ final number, it would put him a 5 behind Alex Rodriguez, well behind guys like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron – and also Roger Clemens, by the way. But if we look at post-1970s, he’s suddenly very close to some very interesting names: THe next guy on the list would be Rickey Henderson (110.7 WAR), a player whose excellence is VERY easy to overlook. It also puts him just a couple of games ahead of Mike Schmidt (106.5). It would also put him just barely behind Lou Gehrig (112).

    The point is, I think the PED stuff has obscured just how great Bonds was in the public memory – and I think we probably make a BIGGER adjustment because he shattered all those records. Weirdly, I bet Bonds’ reputation would be a lot better if he’d never hit those 73 home runs, or broken Hank Aaron’s record.

    • sdelmonte - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Good analysis.

  17. wtfruthinkn - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    You should have posted a before pic from when he was with Pittsburgh and put it side-by-side with this one. He went from skinny leadoff base-stealer to Ray Lewis in one off season…

    • yahmule - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Ray Lewis is a far bigger asshole than Barry Bonds could ever hope of being.

  18. shea801 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Craig, it’s posts like this that keep me coming back 😀

  19. frank35sox - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    I know you are the biggest troll of all time and will only benefit from me looking and posting on your article, but man are you a DB. I can only hope tp me meet you so I can tell you to your face.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      You’re missing a sock.

  20. bills399 - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    why do people assume he never did steroids before 93? Yes I know when his head started to increase in size but nobody here knows he didn’t juice even per 1990’s. Better than ted Williams? thanks for the laugh.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      With you Bills. I think people want to believe Barry didn’t start juicing until the late 90’s.
      No one knows. My ‘guess’…early 90’s. Cause he was a very large mammal mid 90’s.
      His head didn’t start getting to the grotesque level until the late 90’s.

  21. jtorrey13 - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I’m going to post as many analogies as possible so that you people finally understand:

    Barry Bonds: ______ as Dal Maxvill: Aquaman

    Correct answer: Batman

    Barry Bonds: ______ as The Wire: Television

    Correct answer: Baseball

    Barry Bonds: ______ as The Godfather: Movies

    Correct answer: Baseball

    Barry Bonds: ______ as Kate Upton: Swimsuit models

    Correct answer: Baseball

    Barry Bonds: ______ as Rolling Stones: Rock and Roll

    Correct answer: Baseball

    Hopefully this will finally get through your thick skulls. There is only one right answer to everything.


  22. edelmanfanclub - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I hate the steroid era as much as anyone, but so many of these athletes use PEDs now. I’m sure several of the greats we adore simply didn’t get caught (not saying they are right). I don’t mind anyone saying Barry Bonds is the best. People point to his 2001 when he hit 73 HRs, but I think his 2004 but way more impressive (.362/.609/.812). He was on base over 60% of the time and his OPS was 1.422!! I think most of the hatred is because he was a jerk.

  23. jwbiii - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Also, Happy National Tequila Day!

  24. dcarroll73 - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Barry Bonds at his peak with the Giants would sometimes, in an entire game, see exactly one ball touching the edge of the strike zone, and he would crush it for a long ball. He was intentionally walked with the bases loaded multiple times. These are indications of how completely dominant he was. No pitcher or opposing manager with any sense wanted to give him a chance of beating them.
    The comparisons to Williams, Ruth, and others from different eras are impossible to do in any rational way. I don’t mind sabermetrics, etc., when they are at least trying to measure people playing at the same time in the same circumstances. Trying to go beyond that with the mathematics makes no sense – there are too many unknowns that you can’t possibly filter out or adjust for. It’s worse than calculating numbers beyond correct significant figures and pretending that is more precise (which by the way it is not; instead it is wrong.)
    I think that my point in the previous paragraph is why I don’t care about PEDS or the witch-hunt mentality of expunging “tainted” records or awards. As bitter as it may be for some, we can never know how or how much these drugs really affected baseball. We do know that plenty of hitters and plenty of pitchers are taking them. Was that a wash? Did it affect some players more than others? We will never know. Was it different from the effect of greenies after baseball expanded to the West Coast? Personally I would rather ignore it than have a regime like the Olympics.
    Just to keep this on topic, Happy Birthday, Barry! To paraphrase what he was reported to have said once, “I never heard that steroids helped somebody hit a major league curveball.”

  25. Glenn - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Though I hate what PEDs have done to baseball and would never support PED users going to the Hall of Fame, Barry Bonds on steroids was the most impressive thing that I have ever seen in sports. What was his strikes seen to HR rate? You couldn’t fantasize about that kind of performance in backyard wiffleball against your little sister. It was the closest thing to watching Superman.

    • Glenn - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Just to add – since Barry didn’t seem to care about what the media or fans thought of him, it must have been worth it. He was as cutting edge as any edgy comedian or performer. Andy Kaufman, Andy Warhol, or Lenny Bruce would be jealous of that kind of performance art. I hate what he contributed to the downfall of baseball record integrity, but that was already gone when he blew it all up.

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