Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bonds and The Babe

756 home runs...

That got me thinking about how it got to be that many. So what I'm going to do here is answer some of my own questions...

What does a player have to do during their career to achieve such a number?

Well, hit 34.36 home runs a year over 23 years.

Did Barry work his way to the top, earning his keep in the bigs as a young player?

Yes. He came into the league as a good player. From 1986 to 1989 his averages looked like this per year:

Games: 142 At Bats: 521 Runs: 91 Hits: 133 HRs: 21 RBI: 56 BA: .254 OBP: .345

...and he looked like this:

An athletic looking young guy. He was fast and had a hint of power in his bat.

Well, what about his so called prime, traditionally in baseball being your late 20's and early 30's? From 90 to 98 his numbers looked like this:

Games 148 AB: 504 R: 111 H: 154 HR: 36 RBI: 110 BA: .305 OPB: .437

Great numbers... maybe, dare I say, hall of fame numbers. In 1998 Barry was 34 years old. An outstanding player of 14 seasons in the majors. Most everyday players at that age are winding down there careers and it seemed so was Barry. But something happened, something un-natural.

In the book "Game of Shadows" they claim that it was his jealousy over the homerun record chase that didn't include himself. All attention was being paid to McGwire and Sosa. It was said that he kicked down the ropes around an area were McGwire had been schduled to take BP in San Fran he was so jealous. That same year, it is claimed, Barry visited his future trainer who would supply him with performance enhancing drugs which Bonds referred to as "the shit".

Bonds almost instantly lost his hair (not to mention the stash), increased his foot size by a couple inches and his hat a couple sizes. He walked into training camp during the 1999 season looking like "the incredible hulk". Which is what his teamates nicknamed him. Barry gained almost 30 lbs. that offseason in shear HR hitting steel. That actually came back to hurt him as he ran into injuries that year blowing out his elbow. It was humanly un-natural to gain that kind of mass, IMO. On the surface age was taking it's toll, though. Steriods or not, he was aging.


He went on to hit 49 homers in 2000, then in 2001 at the age of 37 belted the magic 73. That said though... From 1999 to 2007 almost all his numbers dropped... except the power numbers. His home runs increased, his BA increased, his OBP increased. At the age of 40 he batted .362 with 373 AB's for Christ's sake.

The power cherry on the top was his HR to at bats ratio. Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat hovered around 11.4 or so. Meaning about every eleven at bats he smacked out out. It was a huge deal then hitting all them HRs. I mean the previous HR record holder had something like 122. Babe wound up with 714. Bonds, in his so called by me 'prime' was at 13.9. Pretty remarkable in and of itself however. Post steriods...



Just for fun I ran the numbers on the Babe if he took steriods like Barry and extended his career by 3 years while maintaining his in his prime numbers... 837 home runs.

And that is starting him at the age of 23, not including the years he mainly pitched. And that's without including a factor for longer drives because of huge guns... factor that sort of thing in with modern ballparks (Coors) and the guy would have been pushing 1200.

Anyway, the babe would have to have had to give up beer, women (or at least taking it down to 1 or 2 a night) and hotdogs for that.

Barry Bonds is a monster. A scary monster.

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