Thursday, January 31, 2008


Nice find by The Hardball Times today for anyone who wonders what a "cleaner" Barry Bonds' career statistics might have been.

Projections done by some number-crunchers in the late '90s figured Bonds would end up with 647 homers, not the semi-fake total of 762.

Barry Bonds, circa 1997 (Geoff Young, The Hardball Times)


Dennis Prouse said...

Perhaps the silver lining for the baseball world in the Bonds debacle is the realization that the home run record really isn't the measure of greatness. Casual fans believed that the home run record = baseball's greatest ever player, but now we know that is not true. Barry, as we all know, was a better all round player earlier in his career, before he juiced up. (The sad dribbler of a throw that failed to nail Sid Bream at home plate notwithstanding.)

For as much as Hank Aaron was beloved, I don't think anyone tried to argue that he was the greatest player ever. At the risk of going all Moneyball on you, defensive skills and on base percentage are much better measurement of how great a player truly is.

sager said...

No, the home run record isn't the be-all, end-all; I'm not sure if anyone ever believed whoever held it was baseball's greatest player by virtue of that feat alone.

Defence and OBP, I would suggest they can be an important divider for separating great players from great hitters, although there are many exceptions.

Bonds won four of his "on-base titles" and all eight of his Gold Gloves prior to 2000.

Similarly, Michael Jack Schmidt, who gets my vote for Greatest Living Player, won 10 gold gloves and led the league in OBP three times.

Point being, greatness in a team sport is someone who skills are spread over several facets of the game. One example is Michael Jordan being Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA when he was also winning scoring titles, or Jerry West moving from shooting guard to the point one year for the Lakers and leading the league in assists.

Dennis Prouse said...

Here's another one in a basketball context -- Magic Johnson moving to center to cover for an injured Kareem, and leading the Lakers to an NBA title. Just moving positions, just like that, and during a championship series? Unreal. That would be like Gretzky moving to defence to cover for an injured Paul Coffey.

sager said...

Slingin' Sammy Baugh leading the league in passing, punting and INTs.

Hey, if they still played the game that way, Tom Brady was a pretty good punter in high school.

Big V said...

Will anyone pick up Berry Bonds next year? If I were a team that that needed some fans, why not give him some low ball 1 million dollar offer. Sure hes got a bad rep... but it can't hurt when the guy gets walked at almost every at bat.