Ladies and gentlemen, i would like you to turn your attention to Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds.
On this momentous day, September 17, 2004, Barry has joined the ranks of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron as the only players to hit 700 home runs in Major League Baseball. This feat is all the more weighty considering only 5 players have topped 600 and only 19 have reached 500. This, of the thousands of players who have stepped up to the plate in the majors. It's down to 3.
So just how good of a season is Barry having anyway?
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS
132 340 118 127 27 1 42 96 207 33 6 1 .374 .613 .821 1.433
Well, for starters, his .374 batting average is tops in the National League. So is his .613 on-base percentage, his .821 slugging percentage, and his 207 walks. His 42 home runs are tied for third in the league, and his 118 runs are second.
But what makes this season incredible is how it stacks up against the other great offensive seasons of all-time.
His 207 walks are the most issued to a batter ever, as are his 105 intentional walks. His .613 on-base percentage is the highest single-season total ever. His .821 slugging percentage is only the fourth best ever (though he holds the #1 record for his impossible 2001 year.) His 1.433 OPS (on-base + slugging) is the best ever in a season.
People would like to pretend that Adrian Beltre, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols, and Jim Edmonds are contenders for the National League Most Valuable Player award. I say to this, "Ha ha ha" and here is why: The only reason a player with Bonds's statistical domination has been denied an MVP award is when their team is not a playoff contender. In fact, Alex Rodriguez is the only player to ever win an MVP while playing for a losing team. Yet Bonds' Giants are only 2.5 games back from the first place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, and are currently leading the wild card race.
Even more to the point, Bonds is far and away the "most valuable" player on the Giants. Without him, his team would most likely be a .500 club at best. He has singlehandedly made them a playoff contender. Would the Cardinals be struggling without Pujols, Rolen, or Edmonds? The short answer is maybe, but the long answer is that they simply do not contribute as much to their team as Barry does to his. The same is true for Beltre, although he is having a spectacular season.
And that is what makes Bonds that much more amazing. Rolen and Beltre are both having career years - years that might wind up being arguments for their induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. And yet Bonds is blowing them away, hands down, no sweat. He is at least twice as dominating as they are, and Edmonds is, and Pujols is.
To Barry's critics, who point to his possible steroids use and his surly demeanor, I can only say I'm sorry that you choose to focus on the negative, when this man has achieved the truly spectacular. Here is the greatest player to ever play the game since Babe Ruth, a revolutionary player, a one-of-a-kind diamond in the rough, and he will always be remembered as a giant of the game.
Congratulations, Mr. Bonds. We were rooting for you all the way.