Three members of the 20-20 club: Mays, B*nds, & Bonds
For those of you who are new to reading my work, you might notice that I use an asterisk when writing Barry B*nds‘ name.
I started this practice over a dozen years ago (and was proudly written up in Newsweek) to express my disdain both for Barry in particular and as the representative of those ballplayers who chose to desecrate baseball’s rich history by rendering some of its most precious records meaningless. While I also view Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa with much “dis” and “dain,” there needed to be a representative for this group and “personable” Barry seemed just so very perfect for that role.
So, if you see the full spelling of “Barry B*nds” in one of my columns here or elsewhere, please be assured that it was an oversight on my part or the decision of my editor or a direct quote from another writer.
Bobby Bonds and his son, Barry
I mention this practice of mine as a preface to this column about ballplayers who have had seasons with 20 homers and 20 steals because no players have had more 20 homer-20 steal seasons than Bobby Bonds and his son Barry, who each had 10.
Hank and Willie each had six 20-20 seasons
Nine to Know: Players with the most 20-20 seasons
Bobby’s 20-20 seasons
Barry’s 20-20 seasons
Notice the year of Barry’s last 20-20 season
A number of outstanding writers have chronicled B*nds descent into PEDs including Gwen Knapp who wrote an outstanding column for SportsonEarth.com in 2013. In each of these articles and books, they track his beginning to 1998, as Knapp wrote in her article:
Sept. 8, 1998: Sitting in a muggy press box at old Busch Stadium, watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa swing for Roger Maris’ record in front of a breathless audience, and imagining I could read Barry Bonds’ mind:
What a farce. If nobody is going to say what these guys are really doing, I’m shooting up next year.
May 30, 2001: Watching Bonds in batting practice, preparing to finish the first two months of the season with 28 homers, well on his way to a new single-season record of 73, and quietly asking the big question around the dugout.
He’s juicing, isn’t he?
No one said yes. One person said, “Where he’s hitting them, steroids can’t help you.’’ And I thought: “Where he’s hitting them, only steroids can help you.’’
1998 was the last of Barry’s 20-20 seasons. 1979 was the last of Bobby’s seasons. They were both 33, an age where traditionally ballplayers slow down either in their legs or with their bats. After 1998, Barry legs slowed as other body parts expanded or shrunk.
Before those of you choose to grab this data and say that “before B*nds started cheating he was a Hall of Famer,” I might point out that there is a good chance when he was in elementary school, a teacher might have said, “Look at little Ted Cruz, he sure plays well with others.” You have to look at the complete picture.
Last season, five players reached the 20-20 mark
In 1999, sadly there were 19.
The 2015 club
Seven active players have had at least four 20-20 seasons