September 16, 2002

If a record is broken and no one notices, did it really happen?

As I write this, the Giants and Dodgers are playing (Brian Jordan just hit a grand slam to make it 4-3 Dodgers) and Barry Bonds has walked 2 times in his first 2 plate appearances, bringing his season walk total to 178.

So what, you ask?

Well, 178 walks is a new major league record!

That's right, Barry Bonds just broke the major league record for walks in a season and no one even seems to have noticed (besides me of course).

For those of you who are wondering, Bonds previously held the major league record with 177 walks last season.

So Bonds already has 178 walks this season and he still has 12 games left to play (plus the rest of tonight's game).

He could conceivably walk 200 times this season.

He would need to walk about 22 times (depending on if he walks again tonight) in the next 12 games.

That sounds unlikely, but so far this year he has averaged about 1.33 walks per game played, and that counts the games in which he appeared only as a pinch hitter, which he is not likely to do again this year.

If he plays in all 12 games the rest of this year, I would give him about a 50/50 chance of reaching 200 walks.

While we are talking about major records being broken that no one seems to have noticed, Barry Bonds is also likely going to break the all-time record for on-base % in a season.

The record is currently held by Ted Williams, who, in 1941, hit .406 and walked 147 times on his way to a .553 on-base %.

Bonds is currently hitting .372 and has walked 178 times, which adds up to a .579 on-base %.

So, the all-time record seems to be in great danger.

Barry Bonds has traded in a couple of dozen home runs from last year for a about a dozen more walks and about a 50 point hike in batting average, which results in him having one of the (relatively) quiet great seasons of all-time.

In fact, if I had a gun to my head (has anyone been forced to decide a baseball related issue with a gun to their head?) I think I would pick Bonds' 2002 season over his 2001 season.

What he is doing is simply amazing and it is funny how a guy can set the all-time record for walks and on-base % while hitting about .375 and be having a pretty quiet season as far as media attention, just because he hits a few less home runs.

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