Barry Bonds : biography
In 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, and he again placed fifth in the MVP balloting.
In , he hit .303 with 37 home runs and drove in 122 runs, winning his eighth Gold Glove, and became the first player ever to enter the 400–400 club by having career totals of 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. The milestone home run came on August 23, off of Kirt Ojala who like Burkett was pitching for the Marlins. With two outs in the 9th inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 28, 1998, Bonds became only the fifth player in baseball history to be given an intentional walk with the bases loaded. Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928) and Bill Nicholson (1944) were three others in the 20th century who received that rare honor; however Abner Dalrymple was the first to receive one in 1881. During a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 2, 1998, Bonds was hit by a pitch thrown by Ricky Bottalico, leading to Bonds charging the mound and triggering a bench-clearing brawl. Bonds finished 8th in the MVP voting.
Bill James ranked Bonds as the best player of the 1990s, adding that the decade’s second-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 34 on The Sporting News’ list 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 Hank 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 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." as cited at
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 levels, breaking not only his own personal records but several major league records. In the Giants’ first 50 games in 2001, Bonds hit 28 home runs, including 17 in May—a career high. This early stretch included his 500th home run hit on April 17 against Terry Adams of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 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. On October 4, he tied the previous record of 70 set by Mark McGwire (which McGwire set in the 162nd game in 1998) by homering off of Wilfredo Rodríguez in the 159th game of the season. He then hit numbers 71 and 72 the following night off of Chan Ho Park. Bonds added his 73rd off of Dennis Springer on October 7. The ball was later sold to toy manufacturer Todd McFarlane for $450,000. McFarlane previously bought Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from 1998. Bonds received the Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in homers that season.
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. His first five came in the Giants’ first four games of the season, tying Lou Brock’s 35-year record for most home runs after four games. 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 were intentional walks, surpassing Willie McCovey’s 45 in for another Major League record. 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, less than a year and a half after hitting his 500th. The Home run came on August 9 at home against Kip Wells.