Posts Tagged ‘Barry Bonds’

On October 1, 1961, Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season home run record (60) on the last game of the season. He ended up with 61 home runs in total. Throughout the 1961 season, Roger was considered an “outsider”, and wasn’t consiered “Yankee material.” Mickey Mantle was an American icon at the time, and a lot of fans didn’t want to see Roger break the record. He wasn’t very big on talking to the media, went about his business in quiet fashion, and was a family man. With all that said, he was sent hate mail by the fans and he was booed out of his own ballpark.

Maris’ record stood until Mark McGwire broke it in 1998, totaling 70HR’s on the season. Barry Bonds than hit 72HR’s in 2001. With all the people who admitted using steroids, and allegations surrounding others, many believe (including me) that Roger Maris still holds that single-season home run record. I didn’t grow up at that time, but from what I can tell….that was one magical season.

“It would have been a helluva lot more fun if I had not hit those sixty-one home runs.” – Roger Maris

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As we get ready for tonight’s tilt with the Blue Jays, a few thoughts from last night’s game:

  • If Ivan Nova was brought up with the idea of resting the pitching staff, it seems somebody forgot to tell Joe Girardi. Nova only pitched 5 1/3 innings, throwing 73 pitches. After a rough 1st inning, he settled in nicely. Other than a poorly located pitch to Jose Bautista, he didn’t give the Jays anything. I’m still scratching my head over Girardi’s decision to yank Nova in the 6th and use 3 relievers last night, particularly with Dustin Moseley (averaging 5 2/3 innings per start) and Phil Hughes (he of the innings limit) coming up next. Assuming Nova maintained his 14 pitch/inning rate (not improbable), he wouldn’t have hit 100 pitches until the 9th inning. Strange, but I’m sure Girardi had his reasons.
  • What was with that line-up? I understand Derek Jeter needed a night off. But by putting Jorge Posada in the DH role, that left the bottom of the Yankees line-up looking more like the bottom of the line-up for Scranton-Wilkes Barre. A better option would have been to start Posada behind the plate and pencil in Austin Kearns (who’s been hitting pretty well, btw) into the DH role. I also would have batted Curtis Granderson 2nd and Nick Swisher 6th, since Swish is a far better run producer than Granderson. That would have left the Yankees with

Gardner LF; Granderson CF; Teixeira 1B; Cano 2B; Posada C; Swisher RF; Kearns DH; Pena 3B; Nunez  SS

Then, tonight you could have DH’d Posada and an 8-9 of Francisco Cervelli and Pena. As it was, the Yankees got exactly the kind offense you could expect from the line-up Girardi put out there.

  • Speaking of Bautista, two questions come to mind: First, why are the Yankees still throwing him fastballs? Second, is anyone else just a little suspicious that Bautista has nearly tripled his career high for home-runs while playing in the same town that Anthony Galea calls home?
  • Finally, I can’t wait to see what the umpires have in store for us tonight. MLB sent what might be the worst umpiring crew I’ve seen all season to work this series – and that’s really saying something. The HP ump couldn’t find the strike zone, leaving both teams hollering at him. The first base ump blew a call that obviously cost the Yankees a run. You also have to wonder if that call might have caused just a moment’s loss of concentration for Nova, since it was the following AB that Bautista did his best Barry Bonds act.

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Alex Rodriguez has 604 Home Runs. He’s 35 years, 28 days old, and stands 158 home runs away from the all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds (762HR). The thing about Bonds is, as he got older, his home run rate increased tremendously. Bonds played his last game when he was 43 years old, on September 26, 2007.

Alex became the youngest player to ever hit 600 home runs, so he’s at a good pace now. If Alex Rodriguez wants to break the all-time home run record, I don’t see what would be stopping him. Injuries are always a cause for concern, but he’s ahead of the pack. There’s no reason to believe that he would just completely fall off the charts and stop hitting home runs. If he wants to put the years in, he can do it. 

Craig Calcaterra makes a few good points:

A-Rod is under contract through 2017. If he stays on his current pace for the rest of the reason, he’d finish with around 26 or 27 homers for 2010, putting him 152 or 153 homers shy of a new home run record.

Thus, Rodriguez would only have to average around 21-22 homers a year between now and the end of his deal to break the record. I find that eminently doable.

What do you guys think? Will he break the record?

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I was going to write about the sudden spate of injuries that hit the Yankees this past week. But I figured enough has been written and said regarding Andy Pettitte‘s groin, Alex Rodriguez‘s calf, Nick Swisher‘s forearm, Alfredo Aceves‘ back and Lance Berkman‘s ankle that you probably know more about their injury status than I do. Besides, after a post about Javier Vazquez‘ dead arm, I’ve had my fill of negativity. ESPN loves to talk about how the Red Sox have overcome their injuries to remain in the hunt, but they generally neglect that some pretty important players in the “Evil Empire” have dealt with – and are still dealing with – some significant injuries. So, if Boston is playing with such extreme grit and fortitude, than the Yankees must
be doing something even better – after all, the Beaneaters are still 5 ½ games back. So I decided to write about one of those things. (Ok, enough of the digression – but it gave me a chance to get a dig in on the Red Sox, and I can’t pass those up!)

One of those good things for the Yankees lately is the play of Curtis Granderson. Traded to the Yankees for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke during last offseason, Granderson has been largely a disappointment this year. Many fans (me included) have wondered what happened to the guy who hit 30 home runs last year; who blended speed and power into an all-star caliber player. Just 5 short weeks ago I wondered aloud if just maybe, Dave Dombrowski had snookered Brian Cashman. Even Joe Girardi had seemed to lose faith in his stating center fielder – after acquiring Austin Kearns in a deadline deal, the skipper looked to be employing a platoon between Granderson and Kearns.

But something magical happened between then and now. I’m not sure what it was, but the Yankees should patent it and sell it to every player in a season long slump. Most folks point to Kevin Long instilling a new swing and enhanced plate discipline during a 3 game respite on the last road trip. I’m not quite sure that’s all there is to Granderson’s revival. After all, you have to presume Long was working with Granderson over the previous 100 odd games, so I suspect there was a riot act read to him either before or during that hiatus. Whatever the case, Granderson has emerged from that brief interlude with a revamped approach – he’s quieter at the plate now, holding his hands closer to his body and slightly lower, and his crouch isn’t as exaggerated as before. Don’t listen to all of those folks saying Long adjusted Granderson’s swing – the one thing anyone who’s played the game knows, is a player’s swing is as natural as breathing. Even if you need to make changes, it’s not something that can be done in a few days. But the approach can. In Granderson’s case, those adjustments have made a world of difference. His bat was always quick; he just found himself swinging at air too often because his approach at the plate inhibited his view of the ball. It caused his head to bob; his hands had to drop and come in to get into hitting position. As a result, pitchers knew they could bust him inside, leaving Curtis vulnerable to off-speed pitches away.

Although hardly a sample size to get excited about, the results from a few tweaks in Granderson’s in Granderson’s hitting style have been eye-popping:








Before 8/12







Since 8/12







The last two columns are the ones that may indicate this isn’t a temporary change in Granderson’s fortunes. Granderson is swinging and missing less often (though still more than I’d like for a speed guy) and when he hits the ball, he is scorching it more often. I doubt he can maintain that average on balls in play for an extended period (or the OPS – both are in Barry Bonds territory), but if he can hold that metric at a .350 or so clip and keep the strikeouts down it translates to a .308 batting average and .414 on base average for the rest of the season, very respectable numbers that the Yankee will gladly take from their 7 hole hitter.

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Is Alex Rodriguez getting older and not quite the player he was 5 years ago?


Iis A-Rod still one of the five most dominant players in Major League Baseball, capable at any time of doing something truly amazing?

Also yes.

And therein lies the quandary for most Yankee fans: how to reconcile those two facts. Oh, that – and many fans still seem to think of A-Rod as some type of  pinstriped imposter, last year’s postseason be damned. I have heard throughout the season rumblings and grumblings that A-Rod is “back” to his “choking” self; unable to handle pressure and not really as good as his career stats would seem to indicate.

I wonder: do those “fans” really think that Charlie Hayes or Mike Pagliarulo were better third basemen?

Look – every season A-Rod has been in pinstripes, he’s treated us to some sort of other-worldly performance. Last night’s 3 homer performance was just the latest. To put that in historical perspective, only one player has homered three times in a game more often, some guy named Barry Bonds. A-Rod has now hit 20 or more dingers in 15 consecutive season – a feat topped by only two men: Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. If A-Rod drives in 33 more runs in the Yanks remaining 46 games – a very distinct possibility – he will move into third place all-time for most seasons with 130 more RBI – behind only Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Speaking of career RBI records, A-Rod is on the cusp of setting the all-time record for seasons with at least 100 RBI – 3 more this year will give him 14 seasons accomplishing the feat, more than anyone. More than Ruth. More than Gehrig. More than Aaron. More than other undeniable Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx and Carl Yastrzemski.

Laugh about RBI being a “meaningless” stat all you want. I know there are plenty of sabermatricians who love to slight the RBI (here’s looking at you, Jason Stark), but the fact is somebody has to drive in a team’s runs. A-Rod does it better than anyone in the modern ere and an argument can be made he does it better than anyone ever. The men A-Rod is muscling in on are generally considered the icons of baseball, guys who did things that nobody ever thought would be accomplished again. Somehow, I have a feeling that if A-Rod ran off a 56 game hitting streak, the detractors would be pointing out that it wasn’t a 57 game streak.

All of this and A-Rod is still only 35 years old, with what should be 5-8 solid seasons left for him.

So if you remain unimpressed with yet another 3 home run game; with a 10 RBI game in ’05, with the 7 RBI performance last year, with all of the career accomplishments – that is certainly your right. But I’m left to wonder how you can call yourself a baseball fan. We are witness to the greatest all-around player to come along since Willie Mays. A-Rod is the kind of player who comes along once every two or three generations and if you can’t appreciate the greatness, then I feel sorry for you.

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NEW YORK- AUGUST 04: Alex Rodriguez

On a 2-0 pitch, Alex Rodriguez launched a 2-run home run (off a 85mph fastball from Shuan Marcum) in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the team up 2-0 over the Blue Jays. It was the highly anticipated home run that everyone has been waiting for. It took him 46 at-bats, but he’s finally in the 600HR club, joining Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Griffey and Sosa. Alex is now the youngest player to ever hit 600HR’s, just 8 days past his 35th birthday. He actually hit in on the same day (August 4, 2007) that he hit HR #500.

Funny enough, the ball landed in Monument Park and a Yankee Stadium security guard picked up the ball.  I guess that belongs to the Yankees now, and it will go directly to Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees organization was prepared to give the fan a autographed baseball, jersey, hat and bat from Rodriguez. If that wasn’t enough, they were going to offer the person lunch with A-Rod and Cameron Diaz. (Via Jack Curry: Michael Kay passed this along during the YES Network broadcast).


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As Alex Rodriguez continues to chase down HR #600, many people have said that pitchers don’t want to give up a milestone home run. Is it just me, or is that a bunch of bullshit? Broadcasters in the media seem to think that players pitch around these hitters in the hunt for a milestone home run and don’t give them anything to hit, because they don’t want to go into the history books like that. The idea is that players don’t want their whole career to fade into the background, and be known for giving up a milestone home run.

First off, why would it be embarrassing to serve up a home run to one of the greatest players to ever play the game? All of those who are in search for these milestones are elite players. If you’re a superstar player, let’s say..a Roger Clemens or a Nolan Ryan..does it really have any impact on your career? Maybe a little note on their profile, but who would really care?

Al Downing was not a superstar player, but he served up Henry Aaron’s 715th home run on April 8, 1974. You can say that he was remembered as “that guy” who gave up the home run, but I don’t see it that way. Downing should be remembered for being a really good major league pitcher (123W 3.22ERA 1,639K’s), who played for the Yankees, Dodgers, Athletics and Brewers during his 17-year career. Than there’s a guy like Mike Bacsik, a journeyman pitcher who served up HR #756 to Barry Bonds. Now, wouldn’t a guy like him want that attention? I’m sure a guy of his caliber wasn’t being looked at very much. Now, he’s in the record books, linked to one of the best players to ever play the game. I’m sure he also gets a lot of autograph requests because of it as well.

What I’m trying to say is, if you’re a good ballplayer yourself, what kind of trouble will giving up a milestone home run do to your career? On the other hand, you can be a journeyman pitcher or a guy that doesn’t get much attention, and you start to get noticed because of it.

In the minds of Yankees fans, A-Rod’s 600th HR might be a big deal, but the rest of baseball doesn’t seem to care. Right now, it’s just another milestone for Alex to check off. Wait until he approaches Ruth, Aaron and Bonds..that’s when it will get interesting.CLEVELAND- JULY 27: <strong><a href=

CLEVELAND- JULY 27: Alex Rodriguez

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Alex Rodriguez’s 500th homerun ball recently sold for a cool $103,579 to an unknown online bidder. The Daily News has the info:

A-Rod’s 500th home run ball is going, going, gone!

The ball smashed by the Yankee slugger on Aug. 4, 2007, to reach the historic milestone fetched $103,579 in an online auction that ended Thursday night.

The sum, paid by an unknown bidder, is just a fraction of what was previously doled out for dingers hit before the rampant use of steroids by baseball players became widely known.

But the ball is the most important one to be auctioned off since Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 756th home run ball was sold for $752,467 in 2007, said David Kohler, owner of SCP Auctions, which carried out the sale.

“You can even see where the bat hit the ball,” Kohler said.

The highest price ever paid for a baseball was $3 million for Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball that broke the single-season record in 1998.

Roger Maris’ 61st home run ball from 1961 previously sold for $5,000.

I don’t think we’ll see $3 million for a homerun ball again for a long time…

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On January 20th, Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run ball will go up for auction. SCP Auctions will host this online auction, which also sold the balls Barry Bonds hit for his 755th and 756th home runs. Those two balls sold for $186,750 and $752,467. I wonder what this ball will fetch.  (more…)

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Mark McGwire finally came clean today and admitted to taking steroids during his baseball career. In a statement sent to the AP, he says that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. He used steroids when he broke Roger Maris’ baseball home run record in 1998.

“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

“After all this time, I want to come clean,” he said. “I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.”

He called commissioner Bud Selig and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa earlier in the day to personally apologize. McGwire also used human growth hormone, a person close to McGwire said. Mark said he took steroids to get back on the field, which sounds a lot like our very own Andy Pettitte (who apoligized two years ago when he admitted using HGH).

It’s Barry Bonds’ turn to admit to taking steroids. Will Roger Maris ever get his home run record back?

Long Live 61* (more…)

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     Put yourself in A-Rod’s shoes. Is it really that easy to come clean? You know deep down inside him..he wants to be the best player to ever play the game. He is obsessed with statistics. You have to think that if these allegations are true, and he admits it..it will be very difficult for him.

     Now how will he be treated if he comes clean? I’m sure the fans would boo him in other ballparks, but how about in Yankee Stadium? They didn’t boo Pettitte and Giambi. I know I wouldn’t boo Alex…

     This is a life changing moment for Alex. Just one question: Did you use steroids back in 2003?

     He is in a different situation then most other players who were stamped as steroid users. This is because he is under contract to be a Yankee until 2017! Could he admit he took steroids and gain his career back? He definitely won’t be viewed in the same way he was before, but he could make the situation a whole lot better.

     Then the HOF question is brought up? IF Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa..and all those other guys don’t get in..why should A-Rod? He was a LOCK, no doubt about it HOFer, but now things have changed dramatically. People are now questioning whether he is even worthy of being in the hall or not.

     There are some many questions you can think of right now. It’s just amazing how things have changed over the past few days for Alex. First Joe Torre’s book..and now this.


The Yankee Stadium Redevelopment Project / SI: A-Rod tested positive in 2003

Spring Training 2009: Five questions for the Yankees  / Disappointment

Believe It or Not, Jose Canseco Was Right Again / AL East Preview

News of Alex Rodriguez’s steroid accusations disappoints South Florida fans

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     This was the one guy that was supposed to “save baseball” from the steroid era. There is suspicion with everyone in baseball about steroids, but many believe Alex did it with his pure talent.

     “Innocent until proven guilty” Yes..that’s true, but when it comes to baseball fans..they don’t care. You will get judged the same way that Bonds & Clemens were.

     We need to wait and see how things unfold and what exactly went on. Yankees fans went through Pettitte and Giambi, (who were forgiven) but we are talking about a person who was considered one of the best players to ever step on the baseball diamond. I don’t think he will get the same treatment as them. He was never considered a “True Yankee” either, so that hurts him as well.

I wonder how he will be treated in the New Yankee Stadium and around the baseball world. I have one question for you Yankees fans out there:

Come Opending Day…will you cheer for A-Rod or boo him?

Remember this? It will haunt him…


Spring Preview: New York Yankees / A-Rod now tarnished forever / Missing

MLB’s response and a look back at “60 Minutes” / Two days of silence / Sigh

A-ROD JUST MAKES STEROID ERA WORSE / Analyzing the Yankee Bullpen for 09

Your turn at bat, Alex / A-Rod shows he’s a true phony / News stings fans

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