In the strike-shortened season of 1994, Bonds hit .312 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 74 walks. He finished 4th in MVP voting. In 1995, Bonds hit 33 homers and drove in 104 runs, hitting .294 but finished only 12th in MVP voting.
In 1996, Bonds became the first National League player (and 2nd of 4 major league players) to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season. (Others are Cansecoâ€”1988, A.Rodriguezâ€”1998, and Sorianoâ€”2006; his father Bobby Bonds was one home run short in 1973). Bonds drove in 129 runs with a .308 average and walked a then-National League record 151 times. During the 1996 season Bonds became the 4th player in history to steal 300 bases and hit 300 home runs for a career, joining Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds. In 1997 Bonds hit .291, his lowest average since 1989. He hit 40 home runs for the second straight year and drove in 101 runs, leading the league in walks again with 145. He tied his father in 1997 for having the most 30/30 seasons.
In 1998, Bonds got off to a very rocky start, but by season’s end he hit .303 with 37 home runs and drove in 122 runs, winning his eighth Gold Glove, and became the first player ever to have career totals of 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. With two outs in the 9th inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 28, 1998, Bonds became the third player in baseball history to be walked intentionally with the bases loaded (Nap Lajoie and Bill Nicholson were two others).Bonds finished 8th in the MVP voting.
Throughout the 1990s, Bonds was an exceptionally patient hitter and a great slugger who stole bases and played Gold Glove defense. Bill James ranked Bonds as the best player of the 1990s, adding that the decade’s 2nd-best player (Craig Biggio) had been closer in production to the decade’s 10th-best player than to Bonds.
In 1999, with statistics through 1997 being considered, Bonds ranked Number 31 on The Sporting News’ record of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, making him the highest-ranking active player. When the Sporting News list was redone in 2005, Bonds was ranked 6th behind Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Henry Aaron. Bonds was omitted from 1999’s Major League Baseball All-Century Team, to which Ken Griffey, Jr. was elected. James wrote of Bonds, “Certainly the most unappreciated superstar of my lifetime… Griffey has always been much more popular, but Bonds has been a far, far greater player.”
In 1999, James rated Bonds as the 16th best player of all time. “When people begin to take in all of his accomplishments”, James predicted, “Bonds may well be rated among the five greatest players in the history of the game.”
Bonds at the plate with the Giants.In 2000, the following year, Bonds hit .306 with a slugging percentage of .688 (career best at that time) and hit 49 home runs in just 143 games (also a career high to that point), while drawing a league-leading 117 walks.
The next year, Bonds’ offensive production reached even higher degrees, breaking not only his own personal records but numerous major league records. In the Giants’ first 50 games in 2001, Bonds hit 28 home runs, including 17 in Mayâ€”a career high. He also hit 39 home runs by the All-star break (a major league record), drew a major league record 177 walks, and had a .515 on-base average, a feat not seen since Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams over forty years earlier. Bonds’ slugging percentage was a major league record .863 (411 total bases in 476 at-bats), and, most impressively, he ended the season with a major league record 73 home runs.
Bonds re-signed with the Giants for a five-year, $90 million contract in January 2002. That year, he hit 46 home runs in 403 at-bats. He won the NL batting title with a career-high .370 average and struck out only 47 times. Despite playing in nine fewer games than the previous season, he drew 198 walks, a major-league record, 68 of them intentional. He slugged .799, then the fourth-highest total all time. Bonds broke Ted Williams’ major league record for on-base average with .582. Bonds also hit his 600th home run, much less than a year and a half after hitting his 500th.
In 2003, Bonds played in just a hundred thirty games. He hit 45 home runs in just 390 at-bats, along with a .341 batting average. He slugged .749, walked 148 times, and had an on-base average well over .500 (.529) for the third straight year. He also became the only member of the career 500 home run/500 stolen base club.
In 2004, Bonds had perhaps his best season. He hit .362 en route to his second National League batting title, and broke his own record by walking 232 times. He slugged .812, which was fourth-highest of all time, and broke his on-base percentage record with a .609 average. Bonds passed Mays on the career home run list, hitting his 700th near the end of the season. Bonds hit 45 home runs in 373 at-bats, and struck out just 41 times, putting himself in elite company, as few major leaguers have ever had more home runs than strikeouts in a season. Bonds would win his fourth consecutive MVP award and his seventh overall. His seven MVP awards are four more than any other player in history. In addition, no other player from either league has been awarded the MVP four times in a row. (The MVP award was first given in 1931.) On July 4, 2004 he tied and passed Rickey Henderson’s career bases on balls record with his 2190th and 2191st career walks.
|Date of Birth||July 24, 1964|
|Place of Birth||Riverside, California|
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