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Having a purpose at the plate

Barry Bonds is the game's most patient hitter, but it's a closer call than you might think.

Originally Published: January 13, 2005
By Alan Schwarz | Special to ESPN.com

Before we begin, let's take a brief show of hands.

When we talk about the Most Patient Hitter in baseball, are we referring to the hitter who most frequently walks?

(Gaggle of confident hands go straight up.)

Fair enough. But looking at it differently, how many think that the most patient hitter is the one who takes the most pitches, either to tire a starter or give teammates a better look at him?

(Several hands go up more slowly.)

All right. Now, which of ...

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