June 26, 2003
Meanwhile, while I've been busy ranting about Joe Morgan and raving about the worst players in baseball for the past few days, Barry Bonds reached yet another amazing statistical milestone, stealing his 500th career base. Those 500 steals go along with his 633 career homers, of course, making him the first and only 500/500 man in baseball history. That's amazing in itself, but even better when you consider he is also the only 400/400 man in baseball history and he joined (started?) that club back in 1998.
I think it is fair to say that I am basically obsessed with Barry Bonds. I write about him all the time, I refer to him as "Superman" whenever possible and I watch every single San Francisco Giants game on DirecTV that I can. Still, no matter how much you watch him or write about him, he will always do something that makes you say, "Wow, I can't believe he did that." I think creating the 500/500 club, in addition to the 400/400 club, qualifies as one of those things.
In the early days of his career, Barry Bonds was a hell of a base-stealer. In his first 13 seasons (1986-1998) he stole 25+ bases 12 times, 30+ bases 9 times and 40+ bases 3 times. He had a career-high 52 steals in 1990. As he has gotten older, he has become less and less of a base-stealer. That's not to say his stolen base skills have left him, just that he runs far less often. When he does run though, he is incredibly successful.
Year SB CS SB%
1999 15 2 88.2
2000 11 3 78.6
2001 13 3 81.3
2002 9 2 81.8
2003 7 0 100.0
TOTAL 55 10 84.6
Those numbers and that 84.6% success rate are for Barry Bonds' age 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 seasons. In other words: "Wow, I can't believe he did that."
In addition to being the lone member of the 400/400 club and the 500/500 club, Bonds is also a member of the 40/40 club. He is one of only 3 players in baseball history to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season. The other two are Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco, who did it at 22 and 23 years old respectively. Barry Bonds did it at 31.
Of the 43 times in baseball history when a player has hit 30 homers and stolen 30 bases in the same year, Barry Bonds owns 5 of them. His dad, Bobby Bonds, owns 5 of them too. That's a hell of a family.
Oh, and the only other member of the 500-homer club who has even 300 stolen bases is Willie Mays, with 338 steals. Willie is Barry Bonds' Godfather.
In a nice bit of symmetry, Bonds' 500th stolen base came in the 11th inning of the Giants game against the Dodgers on Monday night. Bonds walked (shocking, I know), stole second and then scored the game-winning run when Benito Santiago singled. The win gave the Giants sole possesion of first place in the division over the Dodgers, whom they have been fighting (and will be fighting) all season long.
And, more importantly, it all came in front of Barry's dad, Bobby, who was in attendance. Bobby Bonds had an operation last year to remove a cancerous tumor from his kidney and he is currently undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in his lung. I'm sure it was very special for Barry to have his father in attendance and I am sure it was even more special for Bobby to be able to see his son do something that no other player in baseball history, including himself, has been able to do.
Philadelphia (Wolf) -100 over Atlanta (Hampton)
Detroit (Roney) +350 over Boston (Martinez)
Chicago (Buehrle) +110 over Minnesota (Radke)
Total to date: + $1,955
W/L record: 152-143 (3-2 yesterday for +175 and I can almost feel 2,000!)
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