Chris Jaffe over at The Hardball Times alerts us to an excellent piece of history: It's been 3,000 days since Joe Blanton made his debut in the major leagues! Way to go, Joe! This important historical note makes me sad that the A's snatched him up. Before he could be a Giant. :(
"The Giants won’t take McCurdy, right?" says Billy. The San Francisco Giants had the twenty-fifth pick, the only pick between the A’s next two. "Take Blanton with 24 and McCurdy with 26."
Lewis, Michael. Moneyball (p. 114). Norton. Kindle Edition.
We were that close. I don't even know who we got in the 2002 draft -- some high-school kid from Tennessee, if I remember correctly. Ugh, such regrets.
But there's another piece of history to note: It's the 20th anniversary of the Barry Bonds signing. The headline describes it as the greatest signing in the history of free agency, and I can't disagree. The main competition is Greg Maddux, but I think the timing of the Bonds signing puts it over the top. The Giants were supposed to play in a dome, and then they had Barry Bonds. That's like the end of the Bruce Willis/Julia Roberts movie in The Player.
One of my favorite pastimes is to go to Baseball Reference and stare at Bonds's stats. You do this, too, but only because you're human. Through the magic of HTML, we can bring those stats here.
Barry Bonds as a Giant:
|SFG (15 yrs)||8351||6263||586||1947||.312||.477||.666||1.143||199|
Literally one season with an OPS under 1.000, and he was 41 and missed it by a point. I remember all of that, but I don't. I remember random things -- Kirt Ojala, the homer off Trevor Hoffman at Candlestick, hitting 500 against Terry Adams -- but I don't remember what it was like to watch a player with a .600 on-base percentage and an .800 slugging percentage come to bat. That's like some Flowers for Algernon stuff, where we had the secrets of the universe revealed to us before it all slowly slipped away.
To Barry Bonds! To Peter Magowan and the rest of the investors! It was 20 years ago today, Barry Bonds taught the Giants to play. They'd been going in and out of style, and then there was an annoying trial. But let me point this out to you, the one you cheered for all those years gave us a bunch of dingers and walks and dingers and more walks and wins and dingers.