by Surf Maui
Barry Bonds –Part One
Joe Posnanski of the Athletic has been posting his assessment of the top 100 players of all time. As of this writing, Barry Bonds was selected as the third greatest player of all time. Since he has already listed Alex Rodriguez (16) and Roger Clemens (13), I think that it is safe to say that Posnanski is not using the same “steroid” allegations or admissions into account in his ratings as are some Hall of Fame voters. Ergo, it is reasonable to assume that SM has had the privilege of seeing two of the three greatest players of all in person, since it is now clear that Mays and Bonds will deservedly both be in Posnanski’s top-three all time players. (The third one is obviously Babe Ruth.)
How lucky are we as Giants fans to have either seen or heard about having two of the top three players ever as part of our franchise history? In comparing the Giants legends such as Mays, Bonds, McCovey Cepeda, Mathewson, Ott, Marichal, Perry, et al., and the question of retiring Bonds’s and Clark’s numbers, Duane Kuiper once said just imagine if you were a fan of a team that had to debate whether to retire the jersey of Jeff Conine? That wasn’t a knock on Conine but rather a statement of what great Giants players we have been fortunate to see in our collective lifetimes.
By the way, the word ergo is a Latin word meaning “therefore.” It is properly italicized here, because, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Ed., §6.65, it is a foreign word that may not be familiar to readers–though with this highly educated readership of TWG, I did assume that its meaning and origin was well known to this group. You now must realize that sheltering-in-place is having an effect on SM because I spent the time to look that up–the italicization, not the word ergo. There are apparently conflicting rules about italicizing et al. as it is utilized in the preceding paragraph. (Compare §6.65 with §16.7) Perhaps Doctor Lefty can resolve the conflict. [Editor’s note: DrLefty is an APA gal and doesn’t italicize “et al.”]
Today’s written and video tour of the SurfMaui Mancave and Giants Museum® will focus on Part One of a several part installment of Barry Bonds-related items. Many of you may have had some of these items, but to the consternation of my late wife, and now Vailsunshine, SM is a keeper–particularly when it comes to Giants stuff, and at least a few of these items are, in fact, unique.
First up is the ball that Barry Bonds hit for his 725th home run. I saw it for sale at a very reasonable price. I computed that there have been a total of only 134 home run balls of 700 or more in the history of baseball (Ruth 15, Aaron 56, and Bonds 63). Of that number, only 63 of them were more than 725. Undoubtedly there are far fewer than those 63 which have been preserved. For example, does anyone think that someone is walking around with Babe Ruth’s 703rd home run ball? So this ball was a good addition to my collection. For reference purposes, it was the product of a solo home run which Barry hit on August 21, 2006 to deep right field off of former Giant Livan Hernandez to break a scoreless tie with Arizona.
Bonds, of course, also shattered multiple records for intentional walks, both in a nine inning game (4), in a season (120 in 2004), and in a career (668), which is more than the next two players on the all-time list, Albert Pujols (309) and Hank Aaron (293), combined— and that number does not include a record 21 in the postseason. To illustrate the order of magnitude of this amazing feat, it would be the [intentional walk] equivalent of having more home runs than Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron combined! Buck Showalter famously intentionally walked Bonds with the bases loaded to force in a run in the ninth with two outs and a two-run lead. Fans will recall that Barry was walked so much that they used to hang rubber chickens along the right field wall, to demonstrate that pitchers were too ”chicken” to pitch to him. Here is mine from back in the day. Note that from hanging in the museum, it needed a bit of repair by Vailsunshine.
Next is a Barry Bonds autographed shoe, which started SM’s Giants shoe collection, about which you will hear more another day. It was represented to me when I bought it, that it was “game-used.” Although it does have gravel in the tread on the bottom, there are no cleats, so if it was “game-used,” I’m assuming that it was not a game that Barry actually played in. When this was pointed out to the seller, they offered to take it back and refund my money, but I decided to keep it.
Here is a sign that they used to give out at AT&T Park to “Pitch to Barry.” I’m sure many of you had one of these, but I kept mine.
Since we may need to stretch out these tours to cover an entire year I am resisting the temptation to present too many items at once. So that’s it for today. Stay tuned for the next installment of Surf Maui’s Museum tour–Part 2 of Barry Bonds related items. In the meantime, here is a video tour of today’s items.
Stay safe and healthy everyone.
SM Update: Since writing this, Bonds was selected as the third greatest player ever, and Babe Ruth was named as second, leaving only Willie Mays. Since Posnanski essentially wrote two Bonds pieces–one for admirers, and another for his detractors–it is safe to say that steroids played at least some role in keeping Bonds out of the top two. However, it would be hard to argue with Mays and Ruth being one and two. If the question was who was solely the greatest hitter of all time, Bonds would be Surf Maui’s pick. The numbers simply don’t lie.