We all know Barry Bonds is one of the greatest players of all time and this almost feels like a ho-hum accomplishment, but today is his 54th birthday, so let’s stick to that theme.
On July 24, 2003, his 39th birthday, the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 3-2 thanks to a home run by Bonds leading off the bottom of the ninth. In the top of the ninth, he threw out Craig Counsell at home plate.
Here’s just the home run, in case the above embed doesn’t work for you:
Bonds, of course, wasn’t known for his throwing arm and at 39 years old, the fact that he was even out there in the field feels like a piece of a bygone era. Or, you know, so great was he that the Giants made a huge exception. Still, he knew how to play defense, even if he couldn’t always make the throw, and I’m going to say that he was intentionally positioned to play shallow in left field for precisely that moment.
Cespedes Family Barbecue wrote a post called “My 25 Favorite Barry Bonds” facts, and this birthday feat found its way, in part, onto that list:
21. 26.3% of Barry Bonds’ 12,606 career plate appearances ended with a home run or a walk.
I like this one because it’s completely ridiculous. From 2001-2004, that number was 39.5%.
The walk-off also featured 75% of a great pitcher reaction from Mike Myers. Almost would’ve made Jeff Sullivan proud:
This was the second and final time of his career that he’d homer on his birthday. He’d hit 116 more over his career, including 79 after his 40th birthday, a major league record.
Happy Birthday, Barry Bonds.