Bobby Bonds

The enigmatic Bonds, the quintessential 30-30 player, never quite lived up to his predicted potential and could never find a permanent home. After spending seven productive seasons with the Giants, most under the shadow of Willie Mays, he spent the final seven years of his career playing for seven different teams. He hit 30 homers for five different teams, a major league record. Bonds debuted auspiciously on June 25, 1968, hitting a grand slam in the seventh inning against the Dodgers in Candlestick, the only player in the 20th century to collect a grand slam as his first hit. In his first full season in 1969, he reached the 30-30 club with 45 stolen bases and 32 homers and led the league in runs, but also led the league in strikeouts, setting a major league record with 185. He repeated that feat the following year, setting a new strikeout record of 189. After Mays was dealt to the Mets, Bonds’ career took off. He had his best year in 1973, narrowly missing the first 40-homer, 40-stolen base season with 39 dingers and 43 steals, but again leading the league in strikeouts. Bonds insists that he had five homers rained out, including two in a game against Atlanta. Against Pittsburgh, he led off consecutive games with homers on June 5 and 6, and set a then-ML record of 11 leadoff homers. He ended the 1973 season in a slump that carried into 1974, when he was benched and fined by Charlie Fox. He regained his batting eye, but was traded after the season to the Yankees for Bobby Murcer, starting his nomadic period. The Yankees made him their number three hitter, and Bonds responded with another 30-30 effort with 85 RBIs, and became the last NL outfielder to have an unassisted double play in a game against the Mets on May 31. But after the season, the Yankees traded him to California, where he played just 99 games because of an injured hand. He rebounded in 1977 for the Angels with his third 30-30 year, with 37 homers and 41 stolen bases and driving in a career high 115 runs. In a nine-game span from August 2 to 11, he smacked eight homers. Despite his fine season, he was traded in the off-season to the White Sox, but played only 26 games before being shipped to the Rangers. His combined totals for the season gave him his second straight and fifth 30-30 season, yet he was again traded in the off-season to the Indians. He had his last effective season, hitting 25 homers in spacious Municipal Stadium, and wanted his contract renegotiated. The Indians responded by trading him to the Cardinals, but he didn’t hit well and was platooned. He was then sold to the Cubs, but appeared in just 45 games. Bonds was named batting coach of the Indians in 1984. In his career, he set a major league record of 35 leadoff homers, a mark eclipsed by Rickey Henderson in 1988. He and his son Barry are also the all-time leading father-son homer duo, passing the Bells and the Berras in 1989.