Hank Aaron. Babe Ruth. Wille Mays. Lou Gehrig. Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle. Ted Williams. Ty Cobb.
All very esteemed names in the game of baseball, however when compared to the statistics of Barry Lamar Bonds, Bonds is in a class by himself. A superior class. Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of all time.
Remember we are naming the best player of all time in baseball and this is an objective question with an objective answer. You cannot get caught up in personality issues or allegations. It does not matter if you "don't like the player." Admitted, Bonds has a terrible personality but that does not prevent him from being the best baseball player of all time.
The analysis of determining the best baseball player of all time is very straightforward. First things first, any player who played prior to 1947 or the pre Jackie Robinson era cannot be considered the best player ever. Therefore, Ty Cobb is eliminated, Babe Ruth is eliminated and Joe Dimaggio whose best seasons were prior to 1947 and ultimately retired in 1951 is eliminated.
I am not taking anything away from these exceptional baseball players, they achieved remarkable feats and are adored by fans around the world, however Cobb, Ruth, nor Diamagio is the best baseball player ever, each did not play against the best players of their time as there was an entirely separate league with notable hall of famers, notably the Negro Leagues. Also, because the best players are playing now! I seriously doubt Babe Ruth would have enjoyed the success he achieved swinging the stick against Josh Beckett or Billy Wagner.
The stats regarding who the best baseball player ever point directly to Barry Bonds and speak for themselves. Barry Bonds has done almost everything any other baseball athlete has done and far more than any baseball player will ever do. Sometime this year Bonds will break the all time record for home runs currently held by Hank Aaron.
In 2001, Bonds hit 73 homers to break the single-season home run record. Bonds also compiled a slugging percentage of .834. Aaron never did that.
Neither did Ruth.
The year after his homer record, Bonds hit a league-leading .370. Bonds is the only member of the career 500 homers-500 steals club. In an era when the 30 homers-30 steals mark was especially meaningful for a season, Bonds averaged those figures for an entire decade.
What hasn't bonds done? I will get to that, but other mind blowing stats include:
1. Holds record for most MVP awards (7) and consecutive MVP awards (4) (1990, 1992-93, 2001-04)
2. Holds records for most home runs in a season (73)
3. Holds records for most walks in a career (2,512)
4. Holds record for consecutive seasons with 30 homeruns (13).
5. Only player in 400 home run and 400 stolen base club
6. Only player in 500 home run and 500 stolen base club
7. 14 time all star (1990, 1992-98, 2000-04, 2007)
8. One of four players in 40-40 club (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases)
9. Holds record for most consecutive seasons with .600 slugging percentage or higher (8)
10. 5-time SF Giants Player of the Year (1998, 2001-04)
11. 14-Time All-Star (1990, 1992-98, 2000-04, 2007)
12. 7-Time Baseball America NL All-Star OF (1993, 1998, 2000-04)
13. 3-Time Major League Player of the Year (1990, 2001, 2004)
14. 3-Time Baseball America MLB Player of the Year (2001, 2003-04)
15. 8-Time Gold Glove winner for NL Outfielder (1990-94, 1996-98)
16. 12-Time Silver Slugger winner for NL Outfielder (1990-94, 1996-97, 2000-04)
17. Led the Major Leagues in home runs (1993, 2001)
18. Led the NL in batting average (2002, 2004)
19. Led the NL in on base percentage (1991-93, 1995, 2001-04, 2006)
20. Led the Major Leagues in slugging percentage (1990, 1992-93, 2001-04)
21. Led the Major Leagues in extra base hits (1992-93, 2001)
22. Led the Major Leagues in on base percentage (1992, 2001-04)
23. Led the NL in runs (1992)
24. Led the NL in RBIs (1993)
25. Led the NL in walks (1992, 1994-97, 2000-04, 2006)
26. Led the NL in intentional walks (1992-98, 2002-04, 2006)
27. Led the NL in runs created (1992-93, 2001-02, 2004)
28. Led the Major Leagues in total bases (1993, with 365)
29. Led the Major Leagues in runs created (1993, 2001-02, 2004)
30. Led the NL in games (1995)
31. Led the NL in extra base hits (1992-93, 2001)
32. Led the NL in at bats per home run (1992-93, 1996, 2000-04)
33. 3-Time NL Hank Aaron Award winner (2001-02, 2004)
34. Led the Major Leagues in batting average (2002, with .370)
Bonds has single handedly won games with his arm, legs, and his bat. Bonds' statistics are far above and beyond what any other baseball player has ever achieved. Alex Rodriguez may eclipse many of Bonds' record and earn the title of best baseball player ever however that feat is 15 years down the road if it ever happens for Rodriguez.
Now for the knocks against Barry Bonds?
1. From a statistics standpoint as pointed out above, he has achieved nearly everything.
2. Hasn't won a world series. Winning a world series has little to do with whether an individual should be considered the best baseball player of all time. World Series Rings are won by a team and not an individual. The best baseball player ever is an individual honor and award.
3. Steroids. Sure Barry is not the most embraceable character, in fact he probably has the worst personality of anyone I have ever seen, but he has not been proven to have taken any performance enhancing drug. Also, the game of baseball involves much more than strength otherwise the people buted for steroid abuse would have much greater numbers. Steroids are not why Barry Bonds is the best player ever, his statistics are. What's funny is how people point out that Barry gained 20-30 pounds over a 15 year period. Who hasn't? It's not like Bonds is ripped, have you seen him lately? Bonds is fat, similar to every other 42 year old man out there. This argument is ridiculous and the asterisk talk is even more ridiculous.
People are so miserable with their lives that in order to escape they latch onto others and wish them to fail. Barry Bonds has too many of these people called Haters who have become fixated on wishing Bonds failure. In the wake of very negative public opinion Bonds continues to succeed and brush all of the Haters off.
There's Aaron. Mays. Gehrig. Mantle. Williams and Musial. Then a step above these esteemed men is Barry Bonds and yes he belongs there. In a class by himself.
When watching Bonds, you're not just watching an excellent baseball player, you're witnessing history and the best baseball player of all time.