Bonds' effort one for the books

Despite loss by Giants, slugger's stats in Series rank among best ever

World Series

October 28, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Scan the record books, and it's not easy finding a better individual World Series performance than the one Barry Bonds just delivered. Especially in a losing cause.

Not that this was any solace for Bonds last night after the Anaheim Angels beat his San Francisco Giants, 4-1, in Game 7 of the World Series at Edison International Field.

"Back up!" Bonds said, scolding a large group of reporters who converged on the space near the lockers of Bonds and his son, Nikolai. "Move back, or I'll snap!"

Bonds dressed quickly, putting on a pastel-striped sweater and jeans, and then he began addressing a Series that saw him bat .471 with four mammoth home runs.

Without question, Bonds silenced the critics who used to point to his .196 career postseason average. But 17 years into what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career, he's still searching for his first championship.

"He definitely put to rest a lot of things," said Giants first baseman J.T. Snow. "But in the end, he didn't get a ring. I'm sure he would trade everything for a ring. We all would."

Bonds went 1-for-3 with a walk last night, as the Angels pitched to him all four times he came to the plate. He finished the series with six RBIs. His four homers were the second most in Series history. Reggie Jackson set the record when he hit five homers in the 1977 Series for the New York Yankees.

But those general statistics don't do Bonds' performance justice. They won't reflect how intimidating he was to the Angels, who walked him a record 13 times, including seven intentionally.

Nowadays, baseball analysts are paying close attention to on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Bonds posted a .700 on-base percentage, reaching base in 21 of 30 plate appearances. He also posted a 1.294 slugging percentage, 22 total bases in 17 at-bats.

Add those numbers together and you get a player's OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), the modern analyst's most important measuring stick of a hitter.

Bonds posted a 1.994 OPS, the third highest in Series history. To find better, you have to go back to the 1928 World Series, when the New York Yankees swept four games from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lou Gehrig had a 2.433 OPS in that series. Babe Ruth had a 2.022 OPS.

To put this into perspective, Jackson hit .450 with the five home runs and eight RBIs in that 1977 thriller against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which went six games, but his OPS in that series was 1.772, which is now the fifth highest in history.

In a losing cause, it's hard to find anything that compares to Bonds. Thurman Munson hit .529 for the Yankees when they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in 1976. Tony Gwynn batted .500 with a home run when the San Diego Padres were swept in four games by the Yankees in 1998.

With Bonds' help, the Giants went the distance, only to lose. They had Game 6 in their grasp, leading 5-0 in the seventh inning, but saw their title hopes vanish.

"It's tough for everybody," Bonds said.

Later he added, "I did [enjoy the experience], I'm not going to lie. I'm going to try and come back again."

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