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Happy 50th Birthday, Barry Bonds!

Jul 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EST

Today is special for so many reasons. Tenth anniversary of the Varitek-A-Rod brawl and  . . . the 50th birthday of the best hitter in at least the last half-century:

source: AP

Note: on the day of that brawl, Bonds was an over-the-hill 40-year-old ballplayer who was hitting .362/.613/.769. And at that point of the season he was actually underperforming his full-season level of production, which was /362/.609/.812. Glad to see he got his power up over the last two months of the season.

In other news, three players are being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Two of them were clearly inferior to Bonds and the third — Greg Maddux — may have been depending on whether you’re comparing them against the values of their hitting/pitching peers or whether you’re comparing them to each other (Maddux may have been the Bonds of pitchers for a time, but Bonds was objectively more valuable to the teams he played for). Oh, and at least one of the three managers being inducted into the Hall on Friday had a healthy assist from PED users to achieve what he achieved. The other two almost certainly benefitted as well.

Happy Birthday, Barry!!

  1. nvl004 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I see you trollin, they hatin!
    Love it.

    Bonds was one helluva hitter man.

  2. dluxxx - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Woo! Happy Birthday Barry! The best player of my generation.

  3. miguelcairo - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Greatest baseball player I’ve ever seen…and numbers say it isn’t even close. Hope to see you in Cooperstown someday Barry!

    • ejheim62 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      greatest HITTER maybe….but best baseball player? Couldn’t throw out Sid Bream, he of the 11 knee operations, on a two hopper to left field? sorry, Barry WAS a tremendous hitter, but…..greatest player? Not hardly.

  4. sjs1959 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    If Barry isn’t elected to the HOF, it shouldn’t exist. PERIOD.

  5. apeville - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    By far the all time greatest cheat-hitter.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Isn’t that Ruth?

  6. doctorofsmuganomics - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    “on the day of that brawl, Bonds was an over-the-hill 40-year-old ballplayer who was hitting .362/.613/.769″

    What a bum.

  7. Nick C - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    While Bonds certainly belongs in the HOF, I have a hard time looking at his late career numbers with anything but disgust. Its the natural process of things that as your mind gets better your body breaks down. The things he put in his body to keep it going allowed him to subvert this process giving him the unnatural advantage of having the experience while still enjoying physical prime. The distorted numbers that resulted from this process disgust me as a fan. They are a jarring sight, much like the sight of a 40 year old armored muscle man with the bat speed of a 20 year old. To repeat, he belongs in the HOF because the HOF is an historical record of the greats of the game and he is certainly that. But his late career numbers hurt rather than enhance his career IMHO.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      But his late career numbers hurt rather than enhance his career IMHO.

      Do you feel the same way about HoF’s like Ruth, Williams, Aaron and others that had absurd numbers in their late 30s?

      • Nick C - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        None of them showed the dramatic INCREASE in production in the latter stages of their careers that Bonds did.

  8. [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Note: on the day of that brawl, Bonds was an over-the-hill 40-year-old ballplayer who was hitting .362/.613/.769

    To put that in perspective, among qualified hitters in ’14:

    His OBP would rank second in the league to Abreu, in SLG(!). His SLG is 150 pts higher than everyone else’s.

  9. cuns2317 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    He wouldn’t rank second in slugging this year as he would be suspended.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Really? Show us the positive PED tests. If there had been some, don’t you think the Feds would have used them in his trial?

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        They did, and there were failed tests.

        http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3112982

      • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Failed test results in Victor Conte’s handwriting, which Conte himself cast serious doubt on: “There is a serious issue regarding a lack of chain of custody,” Conte said. “No test result has anybody’s name or initials. All steroid test results performed at BALCO were a number only. Now there were different ledgers with initials and different things that are certainly subject to challenge, but there is no type of steroid panel test result with the name Barry Bonds on it.”

        None of it was used at trial.

        I’m not saying Bonds didn’t do PEDs. I’m just saying he wouldn’t be suspended if he were playing this year because unlike Alex Rodriguez, Bonds never got caught.

  10. spyder9669 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    No…he wouldn’t rank 2nd in slugging bc he would be 1st in slugging.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      No, the point was his on-base percentage was so high that it would rank second in slugging percentage. That’s how ridiculously high his OBP was.

  11. largebill - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Craig,

    While I certainly agree that Bonds should be a Hall of Famer, I wish you had made your point without seeming to take a swipe at the guys who were elected. Glavine or Thomas are no less worthy Hall of Fame selections just because the BBWAA failed to elected some much better players. The seeming hypocrisy of enshrining LaRussa is fair game (though I admit he was selected by a different voting body & process). It does bring up the question of whether Tony will touch on PED issue in his speech and whether he will call for McGwire’s inclusion (among others) ala recent Reds mentioning Rose.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      It’s not a swipe. It’s a fact. Bonds was clearly a better player.

      • largebill - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Craig,

        Bonds is clearly better than nearly every player in the Hall of Fame. Kiner, Rizzuto, Brock, any Robinson, etc play no part in Bonds not being elected. A player doesn’t have to be one of the best five or ten to ever play the game to merit Hall of Fame enshrinement.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      Are we going to have the Frank Thomas vs Barry Bonds argument now? This should be funny.

  12. theageofquarrel - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Happy Birthday Big Head!!!!
    Is he lying about his age too?

  13. moogro - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    He was like a MLB player playing in men’s softball league.

  14. johnnysoda - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I disagree with the statement that Tom Glavine is not as good as Barry Bonds. Did Bonds ever win 305 games and two Cy Young Awards?

    • 18thstreet - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      And if Cy Young was so great, why did he never win a Cy Young award?

    • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Yes Bonds did win 305 games and two Cy Youngs. And he threw both left-handed and right-handed. Next stupid question.

    • zzalapski - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      Glavine had 74 WAR at the end of his career, a career that is undoubtedy worthy of the Hall of Fame.

      Bonds had 73.7 WAR at the end of his age-30 season.

  15. khar9 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Not only a great baseball player but someone who your kids could look up to .

    • pete2112 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Please tell me this is sarcasm…. If not, it would be interesting to know how many high school kids tried steroids because they wanted to look up to Barry and follow his example.

      And also how to get the people around you to lie and cover up for you.

      Hell of a guy.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        I went to high school in Texas in the 80’s, and kids were doing steroids LONG before Barry Bonds came along.

        And the parents were taking them doctor shopping to find a prescription. By the way.

      • pete2112 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        Well that makes everything better, thanks.

  16. fifthstarter - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    The greatest. I feel fortunate to have watched him play, and glad that his games were recorded for posterity. I grew up listening to my dad’s stories of seeing Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax, and it’s a great tragedy that very few of their games still exist for me to see. The next generation is much luckier in that they will be able to see Barry Bonds’ games.

    (I am assuming here that MLBAM one day gets its act together, presumably in the post-Selig era.)

    • pete2112 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      I’ll have what you’re drinking.

  17. wishingtonredslur - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Meh. He only got to 50 because of the roids.

  18. thomas844 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    “In other news, three players are being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Two of them were clearly inferior to Bonds…”

    Yeah, so let’s put down two classy, deserving, HOF-caliber players in Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine and toss their career accomplishments to the side just for the sake of pushing your pro-PED case a little bit more, as if it hasn’t been shoved down our throats enough already.

    Nice one, Craig.

    • pete2112 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      @thomas844

      Totally agree.

      Nice tact, Craig. Bravo.

      • Greg Weber - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Yeah, I’m sure Maddux and Glavine are devastated and in tears. They may never read HBT ever again.

  19. goawaydog - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Happy birthday BB. Thanks for all the good times at the yard and for punching Jeff Kent in the dugout.

    • pete2112 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      BTW, that was roid rage.

      • zzalapski - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        If that’s how you categorize “telling Kent to stop yelling at David Bell”, sure.

  20. jrob23 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    LOL at Craig. So predictable. Bonds was a HOFer before the ‘steroid era’ and because he was so good..PEDs..and his hard work combined to make him even better…approaching the best. I gotta love the people that bring up Ruth in regards to cheating. How did he cheat again? Because there were no black pitchers? lol…historically black pitchers that are difference makers are few and far between. It would have made very little if any difference. Whose to say he might not have had hit more HR considering they very well could have been worse than the pitchers he faced. Williams? There is not a single thing he did that could be construed as cheating. He’s the best hitter that has ever lived and his numbers would have been even more ridiculous if he hadn’t missed several years to the War.

    Bonds not being in the HOF is egregious as is Rose. No amount of steroids he did from 99 on can negate the previous decade of dominance. And in my book, if you dominate a decade you get in. Numbers be damned. There’s only been around 11-12 decades so dominating one should suffice

  21. unlost1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    another example of how innocent until proven guilty isn’t always true

  22. schmedley69 - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Happy Birthday, Barry. Hard to believe that 50 years ago that melon was small enough to make it through your mother’s birth canal. You were so good that you didn’t need to cheat, but you did anyway and tarnished your great career. What a shame.

  23. bmadormo - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Glavine and Maddox never had the GUTS to pitch in the American League for any significant period of time No way either of those 2 would have been as effective. Frankly Mussina who pitched his entire career in the AL East was better than both of them

    • dexterismyhero - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      That’s a load of crap……………………

    • shyts7 - Jul 25, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      You sir are a moron. Maddux is arguably the best pitcher of the last 30 years. The stats he put up in the steroid era throwing only around 85-90mph are quite amazing.

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