MLB Teams Were Always Ready To Walk Barry Bonds

Former NBA player Chris Mullin (L) and former San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds waves to the crowd during the fifth inning of Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park on October 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It’s not a secret that Barry Bonds was the most feared hitter in MLB in the early 2000s.

In 2001, he set the record for most home runs in a single season, with 73, shattering Mark McGwire‘s three-year-old record by three long balls.

His power was something to behold, and naturally, MLB pitchers often opted to pitch to the guy next to him.

We are talking about a hitter who got an intentional base on balls with the bases loaded one time.

Bonds’ walk rate in 2001 was 26.7 percent, but after breaking the home run record, that number rose dramatically in subsequent seasons.

Let’s talk about intentional bases on balls, then.

In 2001, he received 35.

In 2002, he got 68, with 61 and 120 (!) in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

The King Of The Intentional Walk

Many of those intentional walks came with first base occupied, which means pitchers didn’t mind increasing the chances of a rally as long as they didn’t have to face Bonds.

The always reliable Codify Baseball offered us an impressive stat.

“Most intentional walks with 1st base occupied since IBBs started being officially tracked in 1955: Barry Bonds, 81 <—– not a typo, Miguel Cabrera, 15 George Brett, 14 Willie Stargell, 13 Ryan Howard, 13 Hank Aaron, 11 Willie McCovey, 11 Harmon Killebrew, 11 Mike Trout, 11,” was the content of the tweet.

There is an incredible difference between Bonds and the rest of the pack, and it goes to show that, at least in modern times, there has been no one like him in the batter’s box.

In that 2001 season, he finished with a .863 slugging percentage, which is absolutely nuts.

Yes, he faces steroids questions and will never be universally likable, but the fact he is not in the Hall of Fame should be changed.

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