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09/18/2004 Archived Entry: "MLB news: Mr. 700"
Bonds crushes No. 700
Ichiro sets singles record
By Michael Toeset
It was only a matter of time. We all knew Barry Bonds would hit his 700th home run before season’s end, but we didn’t know when. Turns out Bonds likes to save his milestone hits for his beloved San Franciscans.
He blasted No. 700 Friday at SBC Park – the same stadium where he hit historic home runs No. 500, 600, 660 and 661. Bonds had gone homerless in a three-game series in Milwaukee, depriving approximately 90,000 Wisconsin baseball fans of a chance to witness history, instead saving his best for San Francisco. The blast that landed Bonds in super-elite company (only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have crossed the 700 threshold) came against San Diego starter Jake Peavy, whose name goes down on the wrong side of history along with Ken Brett (who gave up Aaron’s No. 700) and Tommy Bridges (Ruth).
Only 14 games remain for the Giants, so it’s unlikely Bonds will catch Ruth this season, at 714. But then again, Bonds has done so many amazing things in recent years that 14 homers in 14 games isn’t too improbable. At any rate, 2005 – one way or another – will play host to home run history. It’s also not inconceivable that Bonds will catch Aaron next year, who currently stands only 55 homers ahead of Bonds.
So where does Bonds go after breaking Aaron’s record? Does he go for 800 and then hang it up? Does he try to catch Sadaharu Oh, the greatest slugger of all-time (as far as pure statistics go), who had 868? Whatever the case may be, Bonds will go down as one of the greatest – if not THE greatest – ballplayers ever.
So many words have been written this year about the greatness of Bonds that there’s really nothing left to say about him. So let’s take a look at the 700-homer club.
HANK AARON – 755 HR, 1 homer every 16.4 at-bats, 1 homer every 4.4 games, 555 slugging pct.
BABE RUTH – 714 HR, 1 homer every 11.8 at-bats, 1 homer every 3.5 games, .690 slugging pct.
BARRY BONDS – 700 HR, 1 homer every 13.0 at-bats, 1 homer every 3.9 games, .610 slugging pct.
On Friday, while on his way to George Sisler’s hits record, Ichiro Suzuki set a season singles record. His 199th single of the year – and his 235th hit of the year – broke a 77-year-old record set by Lloyd Waner. Ichiro is batting an amazing .369 this season, but there are many people out there who have little regard for Ichiro because he hits mainly singles (he has only 36 extra-base hits this year). Those disbelievers would undoubtedly give more credence to a walk (which boosts the on-base percentage), while overlooking the obvious fact that a single does the same job – and it boosts the batting average. A hit is a hit, and if Ichiro is getting on base nearly 40 percent of the time, no matter how he’s doing it, he’s obviously a great contributor to his team. Ichiro deserves respect and recognition for his record, which clearly is a major feat, seeing as Waner’s record stood for so long.
As for breaking Sisler’s record, Ichiro needs 23 more hits in 15 games, which is doable if Ichiro doesn’t let the pressure get to him – and if pitchers pitch to him.
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