September 25, 2002

Barry Bonds has tied the NL mark: for consecutive games with a walk. He hit #16 tonight (in the first inning), matching Jack Clark's streak from 1987. The MLB record is 22, held by Roy Cullenbine.

posted by JawaKing to baseball at 09:54 PM - 8 comments

Yep- we are witnessing perhaps the greatest player of all time shatter record after record. I hope none of you are taking this for granted!

posted by hincandenza at 10:41 PM on September 25, 2002

I appreciate Bonds as much as the next guy, but I think you want to phrase it as "the greatest HITTER of all time" instead. And even then, Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth might have arguments. No doubt about it though, he's an inner-circle hall of famer who can easily be considered one of the top 10 of all time. But until someone dominates as a pitcher like Babe Ruth did early in his career, no one will be able to take the "best baseball player ever" title away from him.

posted by grum@work at 09:34 AM on September 26, 2002

It's too bad that a combination of Bonds's personality and the hardened prejudices of many reporters is keeping him from the recognition that should be his. Sure, people notice him -- hard to miss the homer record -- but I think in a few decades they'll look back at the sports coverage of his career and shake their heads: "Didn't those people know what they were seeing?" Of course, Grum's right about Ruth -- you should never say "never," but I have a hard time believing anyone will ever again be in serious contention for both best (lefthanded) pitcher and best hitter, and until that day comes, Ruth is #1, no two ways about it.

posted by languagehat at 12:52 PM on September 26, 2002

I love the "Ruth was a great pitcher too" argument. How ridiculous! It was a completely different league back then - the players then probably couldn't beat the A/AA players of today. Bonds is the second greatest player ever, behind Duke Snider.

posted by djacobs at 01:17 PM on September 26, 2002

You can't compare great players across generations. You can only compare them to their peers, and how they stood out from them.

posted by corpse at 02:06 PM on September 26, 2002

It was a completely different league back then - the players then probably couldn't beat the A/AA players of today. But that's not the point. Ruth was a good pitcher during his time. Bonds DOESN'T EVEN PITCH. It's not a comparison of the times they played in, it's a comparison of the skills they had. Both of them could draw walks, hit home runs, steal (some) bases and field (generally) well. But Ruth takes it a notch higher by pitching (very) well compared to Bonds not pitching at all. And I'm willing to agree that Duke Snider should have been the NL MVP in 1955 and 1956. But better than Mantle overall (a contemporary)? Sorry, can't agree with that.

posted by grum@work at 03:37 PM on September 26, 2002

Huh? Sure it was a different league back then, and even the best of the teams of the WWI era probably would have a hard time beating one of today's major league teams (Tampa Bay excluded; I'm taking "A/AA" as pardonable exaggeration) -- but that has nothing to do with the point, which is that Ruth was probably the best left-handed pitcher of his era as well as the best hitter, and he thus set a standard of double-barrelled greatness that will almost certainly never be matched. Today, pitchers can't hit and hitters can't pitch, end of story. Jeff: Of course you can compare players across generations; not only is it half the fun of baseball, but Bill James has devoted his entire career to it; check out his Historical Baseball Abstract for endless fun (review here).

posted by languagehat at 03:39 PM on September 26, 2002

I don't know how "djacobs" became "??t" and I'm not sure I want to know.

posted by languagehat at 03:40 PM on September 26, 2002

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