Here Comes Barry
Barry Bonds is coming to town creating a buzz as he continues his climb toward becoming the number two man in baseball home run history.
The weekend series with the Giants tops off with an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Not only will fans in Philly be tuned in, but the entire country will be watching.
Barry carries some baggage but he also carries numbers that are mind-boggling. He’s more than just a home run hitter. He’s a hitting machine.
And, a walking machine. No one in baseball history has drawn more walks, over 2,300. Since first base is 90 feet from home plate, Barry’s walked over 207,000 feet.
Two years ago, he was walked intentionally 120 times out of 232 walks, both major league records. To put that into perspective, Mike Schmidt spent 18 years in a Phillies uniform and holds the Phillies career record for most intentional walks, 202.
The 41-year-old Bonds has seven MVP trophies in his possession. Among the four major sports, only the great Wayne Gretzky has more, nine.
During the first seven years of his career the Phillies saw a lot more of Barry because he was in a Pittsburgh uniform. He left his calling card at Veterans Stadium with 27 home runs, most by any visiting player.
The Vet was also the place where he hit two of his milestone homers: #200 on July 8, 1993 off Jose DeLeon and #250, July 18, 1994, off Shawn Boskie.
Going into this weekend, he’s played three games at Citizens Bank Park. Combined, he is 2-for-4, one home run, two RBI, three runs and six walks.
To date, the most historic home run that was hit at Citizens Bank Park was Jim Thome’s 400th, June 14, 2004, off Cincinnati’s Jose Acevedo. Ken Griffey was sitting on 499 that same day but he sat out because the Reds played at home the next day.
Hank Aaron’s 400th home run came at Connie Mack Stadium, April 20, 1966, off LHP Bo Belinsky. Aaron later got his 700th against the Phillies’ Ken Brett, July 21, 1973 in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium.
Barry will mean more tickets sold this weekend, a greater security presence and more media. The media calls began on Monday, Reuters, Washington Post, Toronto Globe and Mail, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, New York Times, Newsday, San Diego Union Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Toronto Sun, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, CSB SportsLine.com, FOXSports.com, Bonds on Bonds TV show, Major League Baseball Productions, just to name a few. Radio and TV networks have been calling. San Francisco media will be sending more than the usual one beat writer.
It should be interesting.