The Name is Bonds… Bobby Bonds
July 15, 2009
by William Szczepanek
Bobby Lee Bonds is best known as the father of Barry Bonds, but when he burst onto the scene in 1968 he was heralded as the heir to the Willie Mays throne. As with many who are thrust into this position, the chances for equivalent success are remote, but Bobby Bonds has nothing to be ashamed of.
Bonds was especially noted, like his son, for power and speed. The slender righthander is ranked 4th in career statistics for power and speed behind his son, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Willie Mays. In 9 of his 11 years in the majors he led the league in this category. He was the first player to have more than one year of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, doing it a record 5 times, only to be matched by his son. He became the second player to achieve 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases after Willie Mays. He led the league for most times leading off with a home run with 35, since broken by Rickey Henderson.
In his very first major league game Bonds connected for a Grand Slam. He also was noted for crowding the plate and getting hit by pitches, accomplishing this feat 10 times in 1969.
His biggest problem, though, was with strikeouts. In his first full year, 1969, he set a record for 187 strikeouts in a season, but also led the league in runs scored. In 1970, he was 6th in the league with 200 hits, 3rd with 10 triples, batted .302, hit 26 home runs, stole 48 bases and scored 134 runs, while leading the league in strikeouts with 189. He is ranked 11th in career strikeouts with 1,757. Some thought he was responsible for making the wind blow out of Candlestick Park.
Bobby Bonds did a lot of things right. He chose Willie Mays for his son’s godfather. Together Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays set examples that few, if any kids, could be expected to live up to, but the opportunities they provided were more numerous than most other kids could ever imagine.
You can check out Bonds' stats at Baseball-Reference.com.