Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I remember Bobby Bonds as a kid, and always liked him as a player. He was talented and made some great catches in the outfield, the collision catch high up on the chain link right field fence along with Mays being an all time great film highlight. He was a soft five-tool player who played in the shadow of the great Willie Mays. Bonds had great speed and a good sense for the outfield. Playing in Mays' shadow had its numerous advantages, learning first hand from the greatest who ever played the outfield.
Bobby was a multiple 30/30 guy. He was the 30/30 standard until Canseco came along and put up a 40/40 season. Bobby will always be remembered for this, and for his 300/300 career. He came up as a chip off the old Mays block, but the chip wasn't nearly as big. Nobody could ever match Mays, and in some sense there was a disappointment with Bonds' "deficiency" in that regard. Heck, McCovey and Cepeda didn't help out in that regard either. He didn't have a good relationship with the media (falling short of Cooperstown may have had something to do with that), and it's obvious that it rubbed off on Barry. Bobby's career had a strange wind down as he played for six teams in his last five years. This card was Bonds' last with the Giants as after the '74 season, the next Willie Mays was traded to the Yankees for the next Mickey Mantle, Bobby Murcer.
Cartoon: It's a good thing Bobby went into baseball instead of going into track. Barry might have been a track star. Here, he's got the longest set of spikes I've ever seen. I also like Bobby's middle name.
Ballpark background: This shot was snapped at Candlestick Park during batting practice. Bonds is wearing his home uni, and the differing dirt colors are evident between the home plate area and the foul area warning track. It was so windy at the 'Stick that the dirt closest to the fans' eyes was crushed brick, which didn't make nearly as much dust. Astroturf graced (AHEM! - I almost choked to death there) the 'Stick in those days. You can just make out the seam at the home plate cutout next to Bonds' left sleeve.