Barry Bonds San Francisco Giants

Age: 56 (July 24, 1964) | 6' 2" | 240lbs. | Bats: Left
Tm Lg YEAR G AB R H BB SO 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA OBP SLG BB% SO% BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
PIT NL 1986 113 413 72 92 65 102 26 3 16 48 36 7 .223 .330 .416 13 21 .256 n/a
PIT NL 1987 150 551 99 144 54 88 34 9 25 59 32 10 .261 .329 .492 9 14 .270 n/a
PIT NL 1988 144 538 97 152 72 82 30 5 24 58 17 11 .283 .368 .491 12 13 .295 n/a
PIT NL 1989 159 580 96 144 93 93 34 6 19 58 32 10 .248 .351 .426 14 14 .265 n/a
PIT NL 1990 151 519 104 156 93 83 32 3 33 114 52 13 .301 .406 .565 15 13 .301 n/a
PIT NL 1991 153 510 95 149 107 73 28 5 25 116 43 13 .292 .410 .514 17 12 .292 n/a
PIT NL 1992 140 473 109 147 127 69 36 5 34 103 39 8 .311 .456 .624 21 11 .300 n/a
SF NL 1993 159 539 129 181 126 79 38 4 46 123 29 12 .336 .458 .677 19 12 .321 n/a
SF NL 1994 112 391 89 122 74 43 18 1 37 81 29 9 .312 .426 .647 16 9 .271 n/a
SF NL 1995 144 506 109 149 120 83 30 7 33 104 31 10 .294 .431 .577 19 13 .294 n/a
SF NL 1996 158 517 122 159 151 76 27 3 42 129 40 7 .308 .461 .615 22 11 .289 n/a
SF NL 1997 159 532 123 155 145 87 26 5 40 101 37 8 .291 .446 .585 21 13 .280 n/a
SF NL 1998 156 552 120 167 130 92 44 7 37 122 28 12 .303 .438 .609 19 13 .303 n/a
SF NL 1999 102 355 91 93 73 62 20 2 34 83 15 2 .262 .389 .617 17 14 .225 n/a
SF NL 2000 143 480 129 147 117 77 28 4 49 106 11 3 .306 .440 .688 19 13 .271 n/a
SF NL 2001 153 476 129 156 177 93 32 2 73 137 13 3 .328 .515 .863 27 14 .266 n/a
SF NL 2002 143 403 117 149 198 47 31 2 46 110 9 2 .370 .582 .799 32 8 .330 n/a 46
SF NL 2003 130 390 111 133 148 58 22 1 45 90 7 0 .341 .529 .749 27 11 .304 n/a 39
SF NL 2004 147 373 129 135 232 41 27 3 45 101 6 1 .362 .609 .812 38 7 .310 n/a 40
SF NL 2005 14 42 8 12 9 6 1 0 5 10 0 0 .286 .404 .667 17 12 .219 n/a 3
SF NL 2006 130 367 74 99 115 51 23 0 26 77 3 0 .270 .454 .545 23 10 .251 n/a 18
SF NL 2007 126 340 75 94 132 54 14 0 28 66 5 0 .276 .480 .565 28 11 .254 n/a 20 18
Career 22yrs 2986 9847 2227 2935 2558 1539 601 77 762 1996 514 141 .298 .444 .607 20 12 .285 n/a
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Looking at it from the Pitching stand point.


136 ERA qualifiers in 1918 and 19 combined. first # is 1918 2nd number is 1919


ERA under 1.50 1   1

1.50 to 1.99  4       6

2.00 to 2.49 20     15

2.50 to 2.99 21     21

3.00 to 3.49 14     11

3.50 to 3.99   6     10

4.00+            2        4

van wilhoite LVW
Apr 15

I heard the same about the clean ball as mike.

The 1920 Yankees hit 71 HR at the Polo Grounds and 44 on the road.  The St. Louis Browns hit 50 all year and the Philadelphia A's hit 44, but Ruth himself was much more balanced than the team.  He hit 29 at home and 25 on the road.  Sure his 1.528 OPS at home was otherworldly. But, his 1.261 road OPS would have led the league too, by almost .200 over George Sisler who hit .407 or Tris Speaker who nearly had a .500 OBP.

Speaker did play in League Park.  It's dimensions were impossible for righties, but were cozy for lefties.  460 to just left of CF, 415 to LC and 375 down the line.  But, only 290 in the RF corner and 340 to RC.  the Polo Grounds were crazy too.  258 to RF but 449 to RC and 483 to straight away CF.  

Ruth took advantage of that short porch, no doubt.  But, his splits were pretty normal.  1921 he hit 32 at home and 27 on the road.  Nothing like Mel Ott who hit 323 at home and 188 on th road over his career.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Apr 15

I'd always heard that the clean ball was in response to the Chapman death in 1920. I do think that the case that Ruth wasn't that important is undercut somewhat by the fact that Ruth in 1919 hit almost three times as many homers as any other AL hitter, and was over 50 HRs in both 1920 and 1921, with 35 more than any other hitter in those years. Yes, overall batting was up (and would continue to rise; check out 1930), but it's hard to say what the reason was. Maybe just generational?

mike fenger mike
Apr 15

That's compelling evidence. So what was it? The "clean ball" as Bill James contends?

Gene McCaffrey GeneM
Apr 15

John A., far down in the comments thread after Joe Posnanski's essay on Ruth at The Athletic:


... I will lob a final molotov at the idea of crediting Ruth for “changing the game”:

The live-ball style of play began in the 1919 American League, and it *wasn’t* Ruth-powered, despite his record 29 HRs that year.

The evidence:

1) That the 1919 AL was different:

AL scoring, batting average, and extra-base hits all surged that year, after being very flat over the prior three. And the most percentage gain was in home runs.

From 1918 to ‘19:
— Runs/game rose 13%, from 3.64 to 4.10.
— Batting average jumped 14 points, .254 to .268.
— Isolated power hiked from .069 to .091, the highest since the league adopted the foul=strike rule in 1903.
— XBH per game leaped 26%, from 1.69 to 2.13.
— HRs per game more than doubled, from .09 to .21.
— Singles per game barely moved, from 6.69 to 6.82.
There is no apparent contextual cause for these changes. All 8 parks were the same both years; all 8 saw ISO rise in 1919; 7 saw higher BA, and 7 saw a sharp rise in HRs.

2) That its essential character belongs with the live-ball era:

— 1919 AL had XBH as 24% of all hits.
MLB average was 21% over the prior 5 years and 15 years, but 25% over the next 5 years.

— Stolen bases dropped sharply in the 1919 AL (while NL SB rose), reaching a new league low of 0.82 per game.

The 1919 AL was already starting to play a “live ball” style.

3) That the changes weren’t Ruth-driven:

Ruth had just 7 HRs by July 4.
Two others had 6 by that date, and four had 5 — matching the total who hit 5+ in all of 1918.

Ruth (in my opinion) was not yet someone that many other MLB hitters would think to emulate. Yes, his 11 HRs the year before had tied for the lead, but that total was nothing special. He was by then a very good hitter, maybe even the best to our modern eyes; but there’s just no cause to think that his career 27 HRs and .303 BA by July 4, 1919 were a game-changer.

Why that date?
— In June 1919, the AL hit 65 HRs, shattering its prior monthly record of 43. Ruth had just 4 of those, while five others hit 4 or 5.
— The league hit 50 HRs in July and 60 in August; each was more than any month of any prior year even if you subtracted Ruth’s HRs.

... Ruth absolutely was a factor in the long-term rise of power hitting. He was the avatar of the slugger’s swing, of an approach that viewed a few more whiffs as a fair tradeoff for more longballs. 

But while he paced the 1919 AL power surge, it’s unlikely that he was a leading cause. 

And when both leagues’ scoring took leaps the next two years, reaching a then-modern-high of 4.85 R/G in ‘21, the leading cause was batting average (up to .291, also a modern high), not home runs. Comparing 1921 to ‘19, the average team had 27 more HRs per 154 games, but 200 more hits.

In 1920-21, 18 qualifiers hit .350+, and 6 hit over .380; just 7 hit 20+ HRs, and only Ruth hit 25. 

He paved the way for future sluggers, but he was just one part of the first wave of the live-ball era. And the condition changes soon to come would have pushed baseball towards a Ruthian style sooner or later.

Alex Patton Alex
Apr 14