Big Lead Sports Bar


Is Barry Bonds a Top 5 Pirate?

MLB is currently in the midst of more corporate-branded, created controversy, this time being the DHL Hometown Heroes voting. Five candidates from each team were designated as "finalists". It is worth mentioning that some teams elected to have their finalists chosen by a board of experts. The board features, among other, former .149-hitting Bucco Orestes Destrade and embattled former ESPN employee Harold Reynolds.

The Pirates' All-Time Greatest Player will be announced on Wednesday, September 27. Their final five candidates, with PIRATE statistics only:

Roberto Clemente (18 seasons) : .317 Batting Avg; 240 HR, 3000 Hits, 1 MVP, 1 World Series MVP, 12 Gold Gloves, 12-time All Star, 4-time Batting Champion, 2 Championships
162 game averages: .317 BA -- 16 HR -- 87 RBI -- 6 SB

Ralph Kiner (7 1/4 seasons): .278 Batting Avg, 301 HR, 1091 Hits, 6-time All Star, 7-time HR King, 0 MVP, 0 Championships
162 game averages: .278 BA -- 44 HR -- 119 RBI -- 3 SB

Bill Mazeroski (17 seasons): .260 Batting Avg, 138 HR, 2016 Hits, 7-time All Star, 8 Gold Gloves, 2 Championships, and one big home run.
162 game averages: .260 BA -- 10 HR -- 64 RBI -- 2 SB

Willie Stargell (21 seasons): .282 Batting Avg, 475 HR, 2232 Hits, 7-time All Star, 1 MVP, 1 World Series MVP, 2-time HR King, 1-time RBI King, 2 Championships
162 game averages: .282 BA -- 33 HR -- 106 RBI -- 1 SB

Honus Wagner (18 seasons): .328 Batting Avg, 82 HR, 2967 Hits, 7-time Batting Champion, 5-time RBI Champion, 5-time Stolen Base Champion, 1 Championship. 0 All Stars or Gold Gloves - they did not exist.
162 game averages: .328 BA -- 5 HR -- 94 RBI -- 41 SB

My question to you: should Barry Bonds be on this list?

Barry Bonds (7 seasons): .275 Batting Avg, 176 HR, 984 Hits, 2 MVP, 2-time All Star, 3 Gold Gloves.
162 game averages: .275 BA -- 28 HR -- 89 RBI -- 40 SB

Remember, Bonds' Pirate statistics are still historically looked upon as "clean", regardless of what happened once he met Victor Conte. Check out his resume next to the other five. If I were to insert Barry in the place of another player, it would probably be Kiner. He played in Pittsburgh just a fraction longer than Bonds, and played on just one winning team. I am by NO means a Bonds fan, but I was certainly a Bonds fan from 1986-1992. Kiner hit a lot of home runs, and certainly posted some spectacular numbers, but had 0 MVPs to Bonds' 2 MVPs. Bonds also won 3 Gold Gloves and was a threat on the basepaths.

Historically, the Pirates have shunned Barry Bonds. He brings a negative energy to anything he is associated with, and if the Pirates have enough of one thing, it is negative energy. But looking at these numbers objectively, are we short-changing the impact Bonds had in Pittsburgh? I look forward to some spirited debate on this topic.


Anonymous said...


As Drew Rosenhaus would say, "Next question."

Anonymous said...

I'd take Dave Parker over Ralph Kiner anytime, but he has his own baggage to carry.

Anonymous said...

I say "NO" to Bonds for one reason: October 14, 1992.

I can live with his .176 batting average in the 1990-92 postseasons, and the fact that he was a jack-ass to anyone with whom he came into contact.

However, his inability to throw out the slowest baserunner in the game, Sid Bream, on a hard hit line drive, where the ball is clearly in his glove before Bream reaches 3rd base, is inexcusable.

I can only wish that had he started taking 'roids in 1992 so that maybe, just MAYBE, his sorry excuse for a throwing arm could have gunned down "El Sid" at the place....and the Pirates win in extra innings, of course.

To add further insult to injury, consider this tidbit from Jeff Pearlman's "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero" regarding the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS.

An interview with Andy Van Slyke revealed the following:

(Bonds) positioned himself unusually deep, resolute in the fact that, should a ball get by him, the Pirates lose. From center, Van Slyke looked at Bonds and yelled, "Move in! Move in!" Van Slyke was nonplussed when his teammate responded with the middle finger.

"Typical Barry," says Van Slyke.

NOTE: This is a great book, by the way. If you have an ounce of admiration left for Bonds, this book will suck it out of you, as it did with me.

Anonymous said...

One more thing...

Before the BALCO grand jusry testimony was leaked in early December 2004, I was infavor of a "Barry the Hatchet" night at PNC where the Buccos retire Bonds' number and acknowledge his place as at the very least the greatest player of the last 30 years.

However, the shroud uncertainty now surrounding his recent success makes "Barry the Hatchet" Night nothing more than a pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

I can't stomach Bonds. I wish he would retire and MLB would erase or at least put an asterick next to the stats he's put up with the Giants. But even the pre-blown up Bonds is one of the finest Pirate players ever. He just never did anything to endure himself to Pirate fans. Blame his parents and their lack of parenting skills for that.

apk said...

There's no way you can take Kiner off of that list. What was his great sin, other than playing on woefully terrible teams? I wouldn't be adverse to replacing Maz with Bonds, for one Big Home Run and the best defensive second base in history isn't enough to crack the Top 5-- not in this franchise, at least. I mean, seriously, Big Poison, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Kiner was one-dimensional. He hit a bunch of meaningless home runs for a lousy team. He didn't have any speed either. We might as well have Brian Giles on the list.