Saturday, December 04, 2004


Remember, twelve years ago a man who looked like this:

and not this:

managed to hit .311/.456/.624 with 39 SB in 47 attempts.

That translates into a .371 EqA. You have to go back over twenty years to Willie McCovey in '69 to find one better.

In fact, in all the years following integration until the early 90s, only Mantle and Williams can also say they've bested Bonds. Hank Aaron never had an EqA that good. Neither did Willie Mays. Or Frank Robinson. Or Carl Yastrzemski. Or Reggie Jackson. Or Dick Allen. Or Joe Morgan. Or Mike Schmidt. Or Wade Boggs. Musial matched it once. Norm Cash came close in '61. So did George Brett '80. And Rickey Henderson ten years later.

And in this BALCO age, only five of the current crop of superstars ever did better, and only lanky John Olerud seems 100% immune from suspicion. I guess have no reason to suspect Edgar Martinez of wrongdoing either. I'm also willing to give birthday buddies Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell the benefit of the doubt, but they both accomplished the feat in the lockout-shortened '94 season. That leaves Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire to explain themselves. (And I think Giambi already did.)

That means Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado, Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Jim Thome, Abert Belle, Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols have all never had a EqA that good.

And in case you weren't impressed, the next year Barry did it again.

That's damn good, folks. Don't forget it.

UPDATE: When I first published this piece last night, I said Bonds' EqA was the best since Mantle in '62. I somehow skipped McCovey's season. Because of that oversight, I got a little more thorough and double-checked every conceivable player who might have gotten close to Bonds. It's a short, short list.

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