Bonds in his own league

Barry Bonds continues to amaze with the numbers he puts up, and is clearly playing on a level all his own.

Originally Published: November 15, 2004
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Editor's note: This story originally aired on SportsCenter.

Some people collect stamps. Barry Bonds collects MVP awards. And on Monday, he's a virtual lock to collect the seventh of his legendary career.

Seven MVP awards: That's more than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ted Williams put together. Seven MVP awards: Over the last four decades, Oakland is the only other team that has won that many. Seven MVP awards, just since 1990: In that same time, all the other players in the National League have only combined to win eight.

Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is next in line to break the home run record.

And of all of Bonds' MVP seasons, this one might have been his greatest. Maybe he didn't hit 73 homers. But he did become the oldest batting champ in history -- and joined Ted Williams as the only men to win a batting title in the season they turned 40.

Barry's .609 on-base percentage was the highest of all time. To put that in perspective, only one other current National Leaguer -- Todd Helton -- has ever had a season within 150 points of that.

Bonds reached base 376 times. Only the Babe ever beat that. Barry had an .812 slugging percentage. Just Ruth -- and Bonds himself -- have topped that. He was the oldest man ever to hit 45 home runs. He was the third to drive in 100 runs in a season in which he didn't even get 400 at-bats. ... And then there were all those walks.

This man walked 232 times. The American League leader, Eric Chavez, didn't even walk 100 times. Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times. No other team was within 50 of that. He walked so much that even if he'd gotten no hits all year, he still would have had a higher on-base percentage than the guy who led the league in hits, Juan Pierre.

So while Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen would all be sensational MVP candidates in a league without Barry in it, that's not the league they play in. Unfortunately for them, the league Barry Bonds plays in is a league all his own.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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