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Hap
08-06-2007, 07:33 PM
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003621797

Barry Bonds' HR Record Tainted by Elbow 'Armor'?


By Michael Witte

Published: August 06, 2007 10:45 AM

NEW YORK (Commentary) Beyond his alleged steroid use, Barry Bonds is guilty of the use of something that confers extraordinarily unfair mechanical advantage: the “armor” that he wears on his right elbow. Amid the press frenzy over Bonds’ unnatural bulk, the true role of the object on his right arm has simply gone unnoticed.

This is unfortunate, because by my estimate, Bonds’ front arm “armor” may have contributed no fewer than 75 to 100 home runs to his already steroid-questionable total.
Bonds tied Henry Aaron’s home run record of 755 on Saturday night and will go for the new standard this week back at home in San Francisco.

As a student of baseball – and currently a mechanics consultant to a major league baseball team -- I believe I have insight into the Bonds "achievement." I have studied his swing countless times on video and examined the mechanical gear closely through photographs.

For years, sportswriters remarked that his massive "protective" gear – unequaled in all of baseball -- permits Bonds to lean over the plate without fear of being hit by a pitch. Thus situated, Bonds can handle the outside pitch (where most pitchers live) unusually well. This is unfair advantage enough, but no longer controversial. However, it is only one of at least seven (largely unexplored) advantages conferred by the apparatus.

The other six:

1) The apparatus is hinged at the elbow. It is a literal "hitting machine" that allows Bonds to release his front arm on the same plane during every swing. It largely accounts for the seemingly magical consistency of every Bonds stroke.

2) The apparatus locks at the elbow when the lead arm is fully elongated because of a small flap at the top of the bottom section that fits into a groove in the bottom of the top section. The locked arm forms a rigid front arm fulcrum that allows extraordinary, maximally efficient explosion of the levers of Bonds' wrists. Bonds hands are quicker than those of average hitters because of his mechanical "assistant."

3) When Bonds swings, the weight of the apparatus helps to seal his inner upper arm to his torso at impact. Thus "connected," he automatically hits the ball with the weight of his entire body - not just his arms - as average hitters ("extending") tend to do.

4) Bonds has performed less well in Home Run Derbies than one might expect because he has no excuse to wear a "protector" facing a batting practice pitcher. As he tires, his front arm elbow tends to lift and he swings under the ball, producing towering pop flies or topspin liners that stay in the park. When the apparatus is worn, its weight keeps his elbow down and he drives the ball with backspin.

5) Bonds enjoys quicker access to the inside pitch than average hitters because his "assistant" - counter-intuitively - allows him to turn more rapidly. Everyone understands that skaters accelerate their spins by pulling their arms into their torsos, closer to their axes of rotation. When Bonds is confronted with an inside pitch, he spins like a skater because his upper front arm is "assistant"-sealed tightly against the side of his chest.

6) At impact, Bonds has additional mass (the weight of his "assistant") not available to the average hitter. The combined weight of "assistant" and bat is probably equal to the weight of the lumber wielded by Babe Ruth but with more manageable weight distribution.

At the moment, Bonds' apparatus enjoys "grandfathered" status. Similar devices are presently denied to average
major leaguers, who must present evidence of injury before receiving an exemption.

Bonds has worn some sort of front arm protection since 1992. In '94, a one-piece forearm guard was replaced by a jointed, two piece elbow model. In ‘95 it got bigger and a small "cap" on the elbow was replaced by a "flap" that overlapped the upper piece and locked the two pieces together when the arm was elongated. In '96, the "apparatus" grew even larger and so did the "flap."

It seems to have remained relatively the same until -- interestingly— 2001, the year of his record 73 home runs, when an advanced model appeared made (apparently) of a new material. It had softer edges and a groove for the flap to slip into automatically at full arm elongation. More important, the upper half of the machine was sculpted to conform more comfortably to the contours of Bonds' upper arm. Since 2001, the apparatus seems to have remained relatively unchanged.

Several years back, baseball was rightfully scandalized by the revelation that Sammy Sosa had "corked" his bat. The advantages conferred by the Bonds "hitting machine," however, far exceed anything supplied by cork. Ultimately, it appears the Bonds "achievement” must be regarded as partly the product of “double duplicity" -- steroidal and mechanical.

Chip R
08-06-2007, 07:41 PM
Very interesting. I always thought the armor was an unfair advantage but I didn't realize that it could actually help with his swing.

Always Red
08-06-2007, 07:43 PM
BS- it's only an advantage if it's illegal or no one else has access.

I dislike Bonds as much as the next ordinary guy does. But this is getting out of hand. The guy is the best hitter I have ever seen in my life, steroids or no. I never got a chance to see Ted Williams hit, but he may have been the only other pure hitter to compare to Bonds since the days of Ruth and Gehrig.

And Ruth and Gehrig had the advantage of facing vastly inferior pitching, IMO.

Again, I am not a Bonds fan, I think it's pretty clear he took steroids, and he's certainly one of the biggest jerks around in pro sports.

But I have a certain amount of respect for what he has done on the field. I know legion here will disagree with me, and even flame me. But he did not do what he did in a vacuum, he did it in an era where many, many ballplayers did it. That's no excuse, and I am no fan of his, but I have a degree of respect for the numbers he has posted. I have not watched his chase on TV at all, like I did in the late 90's with McGwire and Bonds himself 3 years later.

His "elbow armor" has nothing at all to do with this. IIRC, everyone's hero, Craig Biggio, wears similar armor.

jojo
08-06-2007, 09:17 PM
Personally, I think Barry Bonds' HR record is tainted by his genes and access to guys like McCovey, Mays as a child.....

KoryMac5
08-06-2007, 09:17 PM
BS- it's only an advantage if it's illegal or no one else has access.

I dislike Bonds as much as the next ordinary guy does. But this is getting out of hand. The guy is the best hitter I have ever seen in my life, steroids or no. I never got a chance to see Ted Williams hit, but he may have been the only other pure hitter to compare to Bonds since the days of Ruth and Gehrig.

And Ruth and Gehrig had the advantage of facing vastly inferior pitching, IMO.

Again, I am not a Bonds fan, I think it's pretty clear he took steroids, and he's certainly one of the biggest jerks around in pro sports.

But I have a certain amount of respect for what he has done on the field. I know legion here will disagree with me, and even flame me. But he did not do what he did in a vacuum, he did it in an era where many, many ballplayers did it. That's no excuse, and I am no fan of his, but I have a degree of respect for the numbers he has posted. I have not watched his chase on TV at all, like I did in the late 90's with McGwire and Bonds himself 3 years later.

His "elbow armor" has nothing at all to do with this. IIRC, everyone's hero, Craig Biggio, wears similar armor.

Just because everyone else has been doing it or has access to it don't make it right.

"That's all I have to say about that." Forrest Gump

RANDY IN INDY
08-06-2007, 09:24 PM
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003621797

Barry Bonds' HR Record Tainted by Elbow 'Armor'?


By Michael Witte

Published: August 06, 2007 10:45 AM

NEW YORK (Commentary) Beyond his alleged steroid use, Barry Bonds is guilty of the use of something that confers extraordinarily unfair mechanical advantage: the “armor” that he wears on his right elbow. Amid the press frenzy over Bonds’ unnatural bulk, the true role of the object on his right arm has simply gone unnoticed.

This is unfortunate, because by my estimate, Bonds’ front arm “armor” may have contributed no fewer than 75 to 100 home runs to his already steroid-questionable total.
Bonds tied Henry Aaron’s home run record of 755 on Saturday night and will go for the new standard this week back at home in San Francisco.

As a student of baseball – and currently a mechanics consultant to a major league baseball team -- I believe I have insight into the Bonds "achievement." I have studied his swing countless times on video and examined the mechanical gear closely through photographs.

For years, sportswriters remarked that his massive "protective" gear – unequaled in all of baseball -- permits Bonds to lean over the plate without fear of being hit by a pitch. Thus situated, Bonds can handle the outside pitch (where most pitchers live) unusually well. This is unfair advantage enough, but no longer controversial. However, it is only one of at least seven (largely unexplored) advantages conferred by the apparatus.

The other six:

1) The apparatus is hinged at the elbow. It is a literal "hitting machine" that allows Bonds to release his front arm on the same plane during every swing. It largely accounts for the seemingly magical consistency of every Bonds stroke.

2) The apparatus locks at the elbow when the lead arm is fully elongated because of a small flap at the top of the bottom section that fits into a groove in the bottom of the top section. The locked arm forms a rigid front arm fulcrum that allows extraordinary, maximally efficient explosion of the levers of Bonds' wrists. Bonds hands are quicker than those of average hitters because of his mechanical "assistant."

3) When Bonds swings, the weight of the apparatus helps to seal his inner upper arm to his torso at impact. Thus "connected," he automatically hits the ball with the weight of his entire body - not just his arms - as average hitters ("extending") tend to do.

4) Bonds has performed less well in Home Run Derbies than one might expect because he has no excuse to wear a "protector" facing a batting practice pitcher. As he tires, his front arm elbow tends to lift and he swings under the ball, producing towering pop flies or topspin liners that stay in the park. When the apparatus is worn, its weight keeps his elbow down and he drives the ball with backspin.

5) Bonds enjoys quicker access to the inside pitch than average hitters because his "assistant" - counter-intuitively - allows him to turn more rapidly. Everyone understands that skaters accelerate their spins by pulling their arms into their torsos, closer to their axes of rotation. When Bonds is confronted with an inside pitch, he spins like a skater because his upper front arm is "assistant"-sealed tightly against the side of his chest.

6) At impact, Bonds has additional mass (the weight of his "assistant") not available to the average hitter. The combined weight of "assistant" and bat is probably equal to the weight of the lumber wielded by Babe Ruth but with more manageable weight distribution.

At the moment, Bonds' apparatus enjoys "grandfathered" status. Similar devices are presently denied to average
major leaguers, who must present evidence of injury before receiving an exemption.

Bonds has worn some sort of front arm protection since 1992. In '94, a one-piece forearm guard was replaced by a jointed, two piece elbow model. In ‘95 it got bigger and a small "cap" on the elbow was replaced by a "flap" that overlapped the upper piece and locked the two pieces together when the arm was elongated. In '96, the "apparatus" grew even larger and so did the "flap."

It seems to have remained relatively the same until -- interestingly— 2001, the year of his record 73 home runs, when an advanced model appeared made (apparently) of a new material. It had softer edges and a groove for the flap to slip into automatically at full arm elongation. More important, the upper half of the machine was sculpted to conform more comfortably to the contours of Bonds' upper arm. Since 2001, the apparatus seems to have remained relatively unchanged.

Several years back, baseball was rightfully scandalized by the revelation that Sammy Sosa had "corked" his bat. The advantages conferred by the Bonds "hitting machine," however, far exceed anything supplied by cork. Ultimately, it appears the Bonds "achievement” must be regarded as partly the product of “double duplicity" -- steroidal and mechanical.

Thanks for that post, Hap. That is some fascinating stuff, particularly after reading so many books on the mechanics of hitting. :beerme:

camisadelgolf
08-06-2007, 10:24 PM
Yes, it's very interesting. I think it'd be unfair only in that players in the past could not have had access to anything like this.

Redmachine2003
08-06-2007, 11:06 PM
BS- it's only an advantage if it's illegal or no one else has access.

I dislike Bonds as much as the next ordinary guy does. But this is getting out of hand. The guy is the best hitter I have ever seen in my life, steroids or no. I never got a chance to see Ted Williams hit, but he may have been the only other pure hitter to compare to Bonds since the days of Ruth and Gehrig.

And Ruth and Gehrig had the advantage of facing vastly inferior pitching, IMO.

Again, I am not a Bonds fan, I think it's pretty clear he took steroids, and he's certainly one of the biggest jerks around in pro sports.

But I have a certain amount of respect for what he has done on the field. I know legion here will disagree with me, and even flame me. But he did not do what he did in a vacuum, he did it in an era where many, many ballplayers did it. That's no excuse, and I am no fan of his, but I have a degree of respect for the numbers he has posted. I have not watched his chase on TV at all, like I did in the late 90's with McGwire and Bonds himself 3 years later.

His "elbow armor" has nothing at all to do with this. IIRC, everyone's hero, Craig Biggio, wears similar armor.
It is illegal to everyone else unless you get special permission from the comis. Even then it would be a scaled down model from what Bonds uses his has been grandfathered. His should have been out lawed as soon as his arm had healed. If allows him to maintain his mechanics in his swing other than protect his arm it should be illegal by baseball rules.

cincinnati chili
08-06-2007, 11:25 PM
Brilliant.

Hank Aaron's record shouldn't count either, because he got to wear a helmet. That must have given him more confidence than Ruth, right?

Body armor is a good thing. It keeps players from getting hurt. MLB could easily counteract the advantage to the hitter by instructing umpires not to award a hitter first base if he is hit on or near his body armor.

camisadelgolf
08-06-2007, 11:46 PM
Brilliant.

Hank Aaron's record shouldn't count either, because he got to wear a helmet. That must have given him more confidence than Ruth, right?

Body armor is a good thing. It keeps players from getting hurt. MLB could easily counteract the advantage to the hitter by instructing umpires not to award a hitter first base if he is hit on or near his body armor.

It appears you totally missed a major point in the article. The "body armor" helps Bonds' swing.

Reds1
08-07-2007, 12:09 AM
I'm not buying it. It's allowd by baseball to me this doesn't taint anything. Same as steroids. Everyone did it and just because of the record and the type of person Bonds is creates all this. I just want it to be over. Bonds is a great player and is still hitting HRs and they test him all the time now. Haven't they been testing since 2002?

ramp101
08-07-2007, 12:16 AM
from Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus:


This article is so ludicrous that I can only read it if I hear it in Mike Tyson’s voice.

Seriously, I’ve had so many emails today asking me what I thought of it — quick answer: very little — that I feel it easier to address here than waiting for tomorrow’s UTK. Let’s stomp out this emerging meme before it gains any more traction.

Simply put, this is incorrect. Bonds wears a customized brace, but one that is within the standards. (NOTE: This previously stated that Bonds wore a Franklin brace. While Bonds endorses Franklin products, he does not actually wear them. My error.) The brace is worn to protect Bonds’ surgically repaired elbow and meets all conditions and regulations put forth by MLB and has since he wore it.

The contortions people will go to in order to discredit Bonds makes me want to order one of these, to protect me when I beat my head against the wall in frustration.

Dom Heffner
08-07-2007, 12:23 AM
The guy is the best hitter I have ever seen in my life, steroids or no.

I don't think Bonds was the best hitter you've ever seen in your life before 2000.

So "steroids or no" doesn't jive with the comment. The 'roids helped or he wouldn't have taken them.

Reds1
08-07-2007, 12:44 AM
Seems like I read he took the roids to feel stronger. Alot like many players take speed to wake them up. It's just accepted and at that time in baseball everyone was doing it. The fact is he hasn't been taking them for a long time and we don't even know how much he did, but you still have to get the sweet spot on the bat and hit it out. I still think the babe has the true record. Bigger ballparks, soft ball, etc. He had more HRs himself then whole teams. The true power hitter was the BABE. :)

Dom Heffner
08-07-2007, 01:04 AM
Seems like I read he took the roids to feel stronger.

Yeah, they provide a mental edge. All those years before he won the MVP, Ken Caminiti just didn't "feel strong."


Alot like many players take speed to wake them up.

Speed caused many baseball records to fall over the 50s, 60s, and 70s.


It's just accepted and at that time in baseball everyone was doing it.

Maybe if enough of these guys get bionic arms implanted, that can be accepted, too. As long as "they're all doing it."


The fact is he hasn't been taking them for a long time and we don't even know how much he did,

So we don't know how much he did, but we know he hasn't been taking them for a long time.


but you still have to get the sweet spot on the bat and hit it out

And I guess it would certainly help if you had some extra help when that bat hits the spot.

cincinnati chili
08-07-2007, 01:59 AM
It appears you totally missed a major point in the article. The "body armor" helps Bonds' swing.

I didn't miss the point, but I can see why you think I did.

Here's a better analogy. Let's put an asterisk by all twentieth century fielding records because real men don't wear gloves.

Cyclone792
08-07-2007, 02:09 AM
I don't think Bonds was the best hitter you've ever seen in your life before 2000.

Really? Then who was?

I looked in Always Red's profile, and it says he's 46. Now I'm not so sure how far his memory goes back, but let's just use 1970 as the cutoff. Since 1970, who has been a greater hitter than Barry Bonds?

Mike Schmidt was a great hitter (and player), but not as great as Bonds prior to 2000.

Pete Rose doesn't come close. Neither does Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell, Rod Carew, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, or Cal Ripken Jr.

If you expanded greatest hitter to greatest player, then Joe Morgan from 1972-1976 is probably Bonds' best competition, but as a hitter not even Little Joe's peak is all that close to Bonds.

There's exactly two guys who even have any shot at claiming the title of greatest hitter since 1970 over Bonds, and both of those guys are first baseman which means that it isn't Ken Griffey Jr. either. But I'll include Griffey in the following comparison just for kicks.

1990-1999

Player AVG OBP SLG OPS OWP RC RCAA RCAP RC/27 LgRC/27 RQ PE PaRQ

Barry Bonds .302 .434 .602 1.036 .798 1370 731 676 10.09 4.91 2.05 92 2.13
Frank Thomas .320 .440 .573 1.013 .775 1275 633 496 9.62 4.99 1.93 94 1.99
Jeff Bagwell .304 .416 .545 .961 .742 1124 505 407 8.50 4.94 1.72 90 1.81
Ken Griffey Jr. .302 .384 .581 .965 .709 1206 475 468 8.20 4.95 1.66 101 1.65

RQ is simply the player's RC/27 ratio vs. the league. PE is park effect, and PaRQ is RQ adjusted by that park effect. Bonds, Thomas, and Bagwell all played in pitcher's parks whereas Griffey played in a slight hitter's park.

I know somebody is going to blast me for this - without even noticing the statistics above, at that - but people love to say Griffey was a greater hitter than Bonds, yet he wasn't and it isn't all that close. The fact is Frank Thomas was also a greater hitter than Griffey, same as Jeff Bagwell, and really, Frank Thomas is the only guy one could even make the argument as being greater than Bonds, but Bonds was still a slightly better hitter than Thomas.

This doesn't even begin to mention that Bonds' 1993 season was probably the greatest overall season - both hitting and as a total player - the game had ever seen since Mickey Mantle's 1961 season. And if you're going to exclude anything Bonds has done since 1999, then that's still the case. Only Joe Morgan's 1975 season was arguably greater than Bonds' 1993 season, and that's after accounting for defense and positional adjustments since Morgan was a pretty good defensive second baseman compared to Bonds being a pretty good defensive left fielder.

The greatest hitters from 1970-1999? Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Bagwell. Expand it to 1970-present, and Albert Pujols is in the mix.

The greatest players from 1970-1999? Barry Bonds, Joe Morgan, and Mike Schmidt. Expand it to 1970-2007, and Alex Rodriguez is in the mix.

And that's just Barry Bonds through 1999. The guy was a beast, even before he became ridiculous.

RedsBaron
08-07-2007, 06:57 AM
Thanks Hap for posting the article.
Cyclone is correct: Bonds was a beast, and baseball's best hitter (and player) in the 1990s.
However, no one has ever offered any plausible explanation as to why Bonds, at age 36 in 2001, suddenly was able to raise his game to heights never before seen in major league baseball and was able to keep hitting at that level for four straight seasons at ages 36-39, ages when no other hitter had ever peaked. No plausible explanation save for one--he juiced. Barry Bonds since 2001 has been The Creature.

Always Red
08-07-2007, 07:10 AM
Cyclone is correct; as much as I dislike Bonds, he is absolutely the best hitter I have seen. I have enough objectivity to stand by that statement.

I grew up watching the BRM (I began paying serious attention in about 1968, when I was 7- well, as serious as a 7 year old can be, anyway), and Morgan was the best player on that team; Bench had the most talent, IMO (offensive and defensive package at a difficult position). But no one on that team was close to Bonds, as a pure hitter.

I got to see Mays and Aaron hit, but it was at the end of their careers.

I understand the vitriol that surrounds Bonds; he alone is responsible for it. But when I'm trying to be objective, I need to get my personal feelings out of the equation.

Bonds record is tainted enough. Even the HoF'ers themselves are split over that. His body armor has nothing to do with it, and to me, just smells of piling on.

Ltlabner
08-07-2007, 07:12 AM
He may be a total beast from 1990-1999 as Cyclone pointed out. Yippie for him.

That doesn't excuse, what appears to me, to be obvious juicing since that time.

And toss in a piece of body armor that obstensibly is used to protect his elbow but has the side-effect of keeping his swing mechanically smooth. Any other "normal" batter has to play with the normal ups and downs of their performance (as it should be) but not Barry.

If this was an ace bandage or a small plastic "cup" around his elbow it wouldn't be a big deal. This is a mechanical device that either intentionally or unintenionally has the effect of artificially improving/maintaining his swing.

He's going to artifically break a record.

Yippie.

remdog
08-07-2007, 07:49 AM
Bonds is no doubt a terrific player and a great hitter but I'm not ready to say he's the best I've ever seen. (I started to follow baseball full-time in '54 so I've had the good fortune to see many players who are now legends.) But something changed him from a superior hitter to a monster masher in the later stages of his career and I find the 'body armor' theory interesting.

First of all, anything mechanical that is more advanced than a toaster is completely beyond me. So, if the writer truly is a 'mechanics consultant' I will defer to him in that area. Certainly, this type of equipment was only developed and available about the time that Bonds started using it and it was fairly soon after that it was ruled illegal. Bonds was grandfathered in and has had pretty much exclusive use of it from the time of introduction. Perhaps it does have the ability to act as a 'brace' or 'frame' to keep his swing consistant and productive. We've seen devices in golf and tennis that do this---they are illegal to use during play but are often used as a training aid---what if this were the same type of thing but Bonds had the exclusive use of it in actual play?

I find it a bit ironic that some of the biggest backers of this 'mechanical' idea might just turn out to be defenders of Bonds. After all, Bonds is useing equipment that MLB specifically ruled legal for him (and him alone) to use. (shrug)

Rem

bucksfan2
08-07-2007, 08:38 AM
I don't think Bonds was the best hitter you've ever seen in your life before 2000.

So "steroids or no" doesn't jive with the comment. The 'roids helped or he wouldn't have taken them.

For as long as I could remember Barry Bonds was the most feared hitter in all of baseball. He didn't put up the numbers that Jr. did but I would be willing to bet if you asked a pitcher who they would rather face back in the 90's the would rather face Jr. than Bonds.

RANDY IN INDY
08-07-2007, 08:40 AM
Good points, rem, particularly about the golf and tennis equipment.

remdog
08-07-2007, 09:28 AM
For as long as I could remember Barry Bonds was the most feared hitter in all of baseball. He didn't put up the numbers that Jr. did but I would be willing to bet if you asked a pitcher who they would rather face back in the 90's the would rather face Jr. than Bonds.

If I were a betting man I'd take the other side of that bet.

Rem

jojo
08-07-2007, 09:46 AM
Really? Then who was?

I looked in Always Red's profile, and it says he's 46. Now I'm not so sure how far his memory goes back, but let's just use 1970 as the cutoff. Since 1970, who has been a greater hitter than Barry Bonds?

Mike Schmidt was a great hitter (and player), but not as great as Bonds prior to 2000.

Pete Rose doesn't come close. Neither does Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell, Rod Carew, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Eddie Murray, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, or Cal Ripken Jr.

If you expanded greatest hitter to greatest player, then Joe Morgan from 1972-1976 is probably Bonds' best competition, but as a hitter not even Little Joe's peak is all that close to Bonds.

There's exactly two guys who even have any shot at claiming the title of greatest hitter since 1970 over Bonds, and both of those guys are first baseman which means that it isn't Ken Griffey Jr. either. But I'll include Griffey in the following comparison just for kicks.

1990-1999

Player AVG OBP SLG OPS OWP RC RCAA RCAP RC/27 LgRC/27 RQ PE PaRQ

Barry Bonds .302 .434 .602 1.036 .798 1370 731 676 10.09 4.91 2.05 92 2.13
Frank Thomas .320 .440 .573 1.013 .775 1275 633 496 9.62 4.99 1.93 94 1.99
Jeff Bagwell .304 .416 .545 .961 .742 1124 505 407 8.50 4.94 1.72 90 1.81
Ken Griffey Jr. .302 .384 .581 .965 .709 1206 475 468 8.20 4.95 1.66 101 1.65

RQ is simply the player's RC/27 ratio vs. the league. PE is park effect, and PaRQ is RQ adjusted by that park effect. Bonds, Thomas, and Bagwell all played in pitcher's parks whereas Griffey played in a slight hitter's park.

I know somebody is going to blast me for this - without even noticing the statistics above, at that - but people love to say Griffey was a greater hitter than Bonds, yet he wasn't and it isn't all that close. The fact is Frank Thomas was also a greater hitter than Griffey, same as Jeff Bagwell, and really, Frank Thomas is the only guy one could even make the argument as being greater than Bonds, but Bonds was still a slightly better hitter than Thomas.

This doesn't even begin to mention that Bonds' 1993 season was probably the greatest overall season - both hitting and as a total player - the game had ever seen since Mickey Mantle's 1961 season. And if you're going to exclude anything Bonds has done since 1999, then that's still the case. Only Joe Morgan's 1975 season was arguably greater than Bonds' 1993 season, and that's after accounting for defense and positional adjustments since Morgan was a pretty good defensive second baseman compared to Bonds being a pretty good defensive left fielder.

The greatest hitters from 1970-1999? Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Bagwell. Expand it to 1970-present, and Albert Pujols is in the mix.

The greatest players from 1970-1999? Barry Bonds, Joe Morgan, and Mike Schmidt. Expand it to 1970-2007, and Alex Rodriguez is in the mix.

And that's just Barry Bonds through 1999. The guy was a beast, even before he became ridiculous.


I absolutely agree with your conclusion.

That said, if asked who I'd take between pre 2000 Jr or pre 2000 Bonds, it's Jr because he played centerfield.

Cyclone792
08-07-2007, 09:47 AM
If I were a betting man I'd take the other side of that bet.

Rem

Bonds: 257 IBB from 1990-1999
Griffey: 162 IBB from 1990-1999

Griffey would normally have Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner hitting behind him whereas Bonds normally had Matt Williams and then Jeff Kent hitting behind him. Martinez was the best hitter (or best protection) of that bunch, but Williams and especially Kent were dangerous hitters in their own right. I'd say the 95 IBB advantage for Bonds speaks for itself.

People tend to forget that from 1990-1999, Barry Bonds OPS'd 71 points higher than Griffey over that time span. And that's before considering Bonds played in a tougher hitting environment in both the AL/NL and in a much tougher park to hit. Barry Bonds' career batting line on the road is .296/.440/.597/1.037. Griffey's is .280/.360/.525/.885. That's a bit of a difference.

In 1993 on the road, Barry Bonds hit .359/.507/.740/1.247.

I'm not meaning to criticize Griffey at all; the guy was an absolutely rare talent during the 1990s. But as great as he was, Bonds was just greater. To understand the magnitude of the difference in Bonds and Griffey, add about 70 points of OPS to Adam Dunn right now and then see what you get.

Always Red
08-07-2007, 10:29 AM
Rather face Barry Bonds or Griffey, Jr?

That's like asking if you prefer to be bludgeoned to death or sledgehammered to death. It's pretty much the same thing; depends on which flavor you like. Both were/are devastating hitters, especially in their prime.

remdog
08-07-2007, 10:40 AM
Bonds: 257 IBB from 1990-1999
Griffey: 162 IBB from 1990-1999

Griffey would normally have Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner hitting behind him whereas Bonds normally had Matt Williams and then Jeff Kent hitting behind him. Martinez was the best hitter (or best protection) of that bunch, but Williams and especially Kent were dangerous hitters in their own right. I'd say the 95 IBB advantage for Bonds speaks for itself.

People tend to forget that from 1990-1999, Barry Bonds OPS'd 71 points higher than Griffey over that time span. And that's before considering Bonds played in a tougher hitting environment in both the AL/NL and in a much tougher park to hit. Barry Bonds' career batting line on the road is .296/.440/.597/1.037. Griffey's is .280/.360/.525/.885. That's a bit of a difference.

In 1993 on the road, Barry Bonds hit .359/.507/.740/1.247.

I'm not meaning to criticize Griffey at all; the guy was an absolutely rare talent during the 1990s. But as great as he was, Bonds was just greater. To understand the magnitude of the difference in Bonds and Griffey, add about 70 points of OPS to Adam Dunn right now and then see what you get.

A good post Cyclone---and a good example of why numbers are not the vallhalla of baseball for many, if not most, people. Boards like this are the perfect environment for those that like to use stats to 'prove' a point. After all, a number is finite and easy to print whereas physicallity is subjective and difficult to observe here. I don't want to get into that argument since it's been done so many times before.

The numbers don't tell of the psychology of the pitchers and the original statement (bet) that more pitchers feared Bonds than Griffey. I only know that during that period most people felt that Jr. was the best player on the planet and the player that was most likely to beat you when the game was on the line. Obviously, faceing either of these guys at a pivital point in a game is a 'Tiger Or The Lady' proposition. I believe however that Jr. was more feared at that time because of personal observation. (shrug) Those that may not have observed it first hand are going to be forced to resort to numbers or antidotal evidence. And that's OK. But, for those that observed it first hand, it's also OK to trust your own experience. (shrug)

Rem

Cyclone792
08-07-2007, 10:51 AM
A good post Cyclone---and a good example of why numbers are not the vallhalla of baseball for many, if not most, people. Boards like this are the perfect environment for those that like to use stats to 'prove' a point. After all, a number is finite whereas physicallity is subjective. I don't want to get into that argument since it's been done so many times before.

The numbers don't tell of the psychology of the pitchers and the original statement (bet) that more pitchers feared Bonds than Griffey. I only know that during that period most people felt that Jr. was the best player on the planet and the player that was most likely to beat you when the game was on the line. Obviously, faceing either of these guys at a pivital point in a game is a 'Tiger Or The Lady' proposition. I believe however that Jr. was more feared at that time because of personal observation. (shrug) Those that may not have observed it first hand are going to be forced to resort to numbers or antidotal evidence. And that's OK. But, for those that observed it first hand, it's also OK to trust your own experience. (shrug)

Rem

Rem, I observed the 90s first-hand myself, and my personal observations are far different than your own. The three most feared hitters I've seen in my life (over several seasons, rather than just one or two seasons such as McGwire in 1998-99 or Albert Belle in 1994-95) are Barry Bonds (both before and after 2000), Frank Thomas for about a half dozen years in the 1990s, and Albert Pujols today.

Griffey was feared too, but not to the extent that those three have been.

puca
08-07-2007, 10:55 AM
A good post Cyclone---and a good example of why numbers are not the vallhalla of baseball for many, if not most, people. Boards like this are the perfect environment for those that like to use stats to 'prove' a point. After all, a number is finite and easy to print whereas physicallity is subjective and difficult to observe here. I don't want to get into that argument since it's been done so many times before.

The numbers don't tell of the psychology of the pitchers and the original statement (bet) that more pitchers feared Bonds than Griffey. I only know that during that period most people felt that Jr. was the best player on the planet and the player that was most likely to beat you when the game was on the line. Obviously, faceing either of these guys at a pivital point in a game is a 'Tiger Or The Lady' proposition. I believe however that Jr. was more feared at that time because of personal observation. (shrug) Those that may not have observed it first hand are going to be forced to resort to numbers or antidotal evidence. And that's OK. But, for those that observed it first hand, it's also OK to trust your own experience. (shrug)

Rem

You might be confusing 'admired' with 'feared'.

Fans, media and probably fellow players liked Ken Griffey a lot more than Bonds. Griffey also provided gold glove defense in CF during his prime. But as a hitter, I'd have to agree with Cyclone. the nod goes to Bonds.

jojo
08-07-2007, 11:01 AM
Rem, I observed the 90s first-hand myself, and my personal observations are far different than your own. The three most feared hitters I've seen in my life (over several seasons, rather than just one or two seasons such as McGwire in 1998-99 or Albert Belle in 1994-95) are Barry Bonds (both before and after 2000), Frank Thomas for about a half dozen years in the 1990s, and Albert Pujols today.

Griffey was feared too, but not to the extent that those three have been.

I too saw those guys quite a bit in person. I pretty much agree with that list too....

Strikes Out Looking
08-07-2007, 11:05 AM
I can't wait for this season to be over so Barry Bonds can go away and fight his legal challenges without me (and the rest of the world) having to watch his crippled body try to hit *homeruns for a last place team.

I will always take remember Barry from his classic performance in the 1990 League Championships.

jojo
08-07-2007, 11:12 AM
It's amazing that a struggling Bonds still has a seasonal line of: .269/.491/.549

NJReds
08-07-2007, 11:22 AM
What armor?

http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/tools/med/2007/08/ipt/1186462950.jpg

RedFanAlways1966
08-07-2007, 11:29 AM
There was a guy who was so feared by our own World Champion REDS in 1990... that he drew the most intentional walks (5) in one game in MLB history. I am old enough to remember when it happened and I was glad they walked him each time they did that game. This man was FEARED back in those days. And he was man enough to walk to the plate without protection (at least w/out the protection that most players wear).

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=199005220CHN

princeton
08-07-2007, 12:16 PM
no kidding? he gets a special exemption to use a device denied to other players?

the guy is MLB's version of the Shah of Iran.

but who is this illustrator who writes internet articles and also consults on mechanics? Leonardo da Vinci?

KronoRed
08-07-2007, 12:19 PM
It's a players league, how long before batters go up with football gear on and still get 1st for hitting hit? ;)

Always Red
08-07-2007, 12:22 PM
It's a players league, how long before batters go up with football gear on and still get 1st for hitting hit? ;)

It's worked for Craig Biggio for years now...he's getting ready to set the record.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-hbp-explosion-that-almost-nobody-seems-to-have-noticed/

VR
08-07-2007, 12:39 PM
Rem, I observed the 90s first-hand myself, and my personal observations are far different than your own. The three most feared hitters I've seen in my life (over several seasons, rather than just one or two seasons such as McGwire in 1998-99 or Albert Belle in 1994-95) are Barry Bonds (both before and after 2000), Frank Thomas for about a half dozen years in the 1990s, and Albert Pujols today.

Griffey was feared too, but not to the extent that those three have been.

Great analysis Cyclone.

I think there are three key factors to consider.

1. By starting in 1990...we're looking at Griffey's second season, as opposed to Barry's 5th. Comparing by experience...Griffey outperformed Barry's first 5 year...not too close either.

2. Griffey's injuries circa 94-95-96 killed him in the roll up.

3. Bond's walk inflated OPS. I know, I know...but still, as a hitter...

Cyclone792
08-07-2007, 01:29 PM
Great analysis Cyclone.

I think there are three key factors to consider.

1. By starting in 1990...we're looking at Griffey's second season, as opposed to Barry's 5th. Comparing by experience...Griffey outperformed Barry's first 5 year...not too close either.

2. Griffey's injuries circa 94-95-96 killed him in the roll up.

3. Bond's walk inflated OPS. I know, I know...but still, as a hitter...
Walks avoid outs, and avoiding outs is the main key to being a productive offensive player. We already know this, and if Bonds took more walks and made fewer outs than Griffey, then he was helping himself be a more productive offensive player.

But for fun, let's compare Bonds from 1986-1999 to Griffey from 1989-2000 then (Griffey since 2001 won't help his case).


Win Shares WARP

Bonds Griffey Bonds Griffey

1986 15 6.0
1987 22 8.2
1988 26 8.2
1989 23 14 8.9 4.2
1990 37 24 12.2 7.1
1991 37 30 11.6 9.7
1992 41 25 13.5 7.8
1993 47 29 14.4 10.4
1994 25 20 8.4 7.1
1995 36 9 10.8 3.6
1996 39 28 12.4 8.7
1997 36 36 11.7 10.6
1998 34 29 12.9 10.2
1999 19 31 6.5 6.5
2000 24 7.8

Per
162 G 35.4 28.8 11.8 9.0



Per 162 games, Bonds with 35.4 win shares has a 6.6 win shares edge and Bonds with an 11.8 WARP has a 2.8 WARP edge.
First five seasons: Bonds 27.8 win shares per 162 vs. Griffey 26.9 win shares. Bonds also 9.8 WARP vs. Griffey 8.7 WARP. Edge goes to Bonds there too. If you're wondering why, the late 1980s was a massive pitcher's era right before the offensive boom of the mid 1990s.
IsoP: Bonds through 1999 was at .271 vs. Griffey through 2000 at .272. When you adjust for league and park, the edge goes to Bonds ... again.

Bonds Top 3 seasons of win shares: 127 (47, 41, 39)
Griffey Top 3 seasons of win shares: 97 (36, 31, 30)

Bonds Top 5 seasons of win shares: 201 (47, 41, 39, 37, 37)
Griffey Top 5 seasons of win shares: 155 (36, 31, 30, 29, 29)

Bonds Top 9 seasons of win shares: 333 (47, 41, 39, 37, 37, 36, 36, 34, 26)
Griffey Top 9 seasons of win shares: 252 (36, 31, 30, 29, 29, 28, 25, 24, 20)

You can look at the top WARP seasons too if you'd like, but you'll see the same results as painted by the top win shares seasons.

remdog
08-07-2007, 01:38 PM
Good. You pitch to Jr., I'll pitch to Bonds and we'll all be happy.

Now, back to the subject of the thread.....

Does Bonds get something benificial from his elbow protection that is available to other players?

Maybe. Possibly. Interesting question and very hard to prove without some in-depth engineering studies.

Anyone got any other information to share on this?

Rem

ramp101
08-07-2007, 05:53 PM
for those of you with baseballprospectus subscriptions... very interesting article today on Bonds' elbow gear and the guy who makes them for him


It's the molds that bring forth the most interesting fact regarding Bonds since Game of Shadows was published. Silva states that because of the custom nature of the work, he's been asked to make casts of Bonds each year. In the first couple of years, he went through the entire process, but due to his workload, he started checking Bonds with precision calipers each subsequent year. "If I made the same brace every year for 12 or more years," Silva said, "it was because there was no size change in Barry's arms."

You read that correctly--the man who not only builds Bonds' brace, but who has taken precision measurements of his arm since 1992, has not seen any increase in the size of Bonds' arm. Point blank, Silva said "there's been no significant change in the size of his arms."

wish I could post the rest

RedsBaron
08-07-2007, 08:08 PM
There has sure been a significant change in the size of most of the rest of Barry Bonds.
Silva may be telling the truth, but, absent documentary proof, I frankly do not believe him.

Dom Heffner
08-07-2007, 09:32 PM
I looked in Always Red's profile, and it says he's 46. Now I'm not so sure how far his memory goes back, but let's just use 1970 as the cutoff. Since 1970, who has been a greater hitter than Barry Bonds?


I honestly didn't think Always Red was being that literal. Most of us have not "seen" Barry Bonds hit that much. We've seen highlights, sure, but most of our knowledge of his incredible hitting prowess comes from looking at his statistics.

He may be the best hitter in his lifetime or his waking years, but I chose not to take the statement so literal, as it actually diminishes its meaning. If we limit it to those hitters he has actually seen, then maybe he never saw every hitter in baseball hit (the Joe Morgan approach to analysis lol).

The point I'm making is that in looking at Bonds' numbers, while they were awesome in the
1990s, they truly become legendary at about the same time the steroid accusations started flying.

To say that it doesn't matter that his numbers became inflated due to steroids because he was already terrific, is a little specious.

I didn't realize we were going to get into an "age of Always Red analysis" and limit our knowledge of baseball to only those people we have actually seen play.

My point is that before the alleged steroid usage, Bonds would not have been considered the best hitter ever. One of the best, sure. But the alleged steroid years truly do put Bonds argumentatively there, and if Bonds would have begun the decline that 99.9% of 37 year old baseball players do, his numbers would have settled among the greats but not on top of them as they are now.

There's a huge distinction there, and when we are talking about altering things with performance enhancing drugs, now we have a problem of sorts.

camisadelgolf
08-08-2007, 01:03 AM
I heard something very interesting on ESPN News tonight. An author is claiming that years ago, Barry Bonds had a conversation with Ken Griffey, Jr. in which Bonds said that it was unfair that people were cheating and getting away with it, so Bonds told Griffey that he would start juicing up like crazy to level the playing field. Supposedly, Griffey was basically like, "Y'gotta do what y'gotta do." The writer said he believed in what he was claiming 100%.

remdog
08-08-2007, 01:12 AM
I heard something very interesting on ESPN News tonight. An author is claiming that years ago, Barry Bonds had a conversation with Ken Griffey, Jr. in which Bonds said that it was unfair that people were cheating and getting away with it, so Bonds told Griffey that he would start juicing up like crazy to level the playing field. Supposedly, Griffey was basically like, "Y'gotta do what y'gotta do." The writer said he believed in what he was claiming 100%.

I've heard that story before and I could see how Barry's ego could propell him to make such a drastic move if, in fact, he felt he was being 'outshined' by players that he considered infierior.

Rem

pedro
08-08-2007, 01:21 AM
Very interesting. I never thought about how the brace might actually help his swing. nevertheless, he's not the only guy wearing one and it is legal.

remdog
08-08-2007, 01:29 AM
Very interesting. I never thought about how the brace might actually help his swing. nevertheless, he's not the only guy wearing one and it is legal.

According to the article he is the only player wearing this particular type because it is illegal for anyone not 'grandfathered in' with this type. I take that to mean that this brace is essentially illegal, Barry just has a pass.

Rem

KronoRed
08-08-2007, 01:44 AM
Barry just has a pass.


And that's ridiculous, if it's illegal make it uniform or just let everyone wear it.

RFS62
08-08-2007, 08:09 AM
Anyone who has been around the golf and tennis industry has seen training devices which promote the kind of benefits that the author is talking about. I think that's why it immediately got Rem and Randy's attention, as it did mine.

There could be some truth in the theory. Certainly warrants looking into.

One thing that bothers me, is that Will Carrol chimes in as if he's an expert on the physics and possible benefits of the whole deal.

I like his stuff on BP, but what are his qualifications on this one? Seems like he's overplaying his hand a bit.

Yachtzee
08-08-2007, 11:06 AM
I hadn't thought of the mechanics of the brace. My big beef with the brace, both for Bonds and Biggio, who has also benefited greatly from wearing body armor, is that it allows the player to stand on top of the plate, essentially taking away half of the strike zone. Now the pitcher cannot get the inside strike and the outside strike is right in the batter's wheelhouse. And refusing to give the batter the base when he gets hit still doesn't negate the fact that the pitch may well have been an inside strike.

I think the "swing trainer" aspect of Bond's armor raises another concern. I too have tried out swing trainers for golf and so the stuff in the article at least sounds plausible. Will Carroll seems to be going off half-cocked to me, which wouldn't be the first time he's done it. Do I believe 100% that Bonds' body armor helps him hit? No. I don't have that information. But I think it's worth looking into.

Redsland
08-08-2007, 11:15 AM
An author is claiming that years ago, Barry Bonds had a conversation with Ken Griffey, Jr. in which Bonds said that it was unfair that people were cheating and getting away with it, so Bonds told Griffey that he would start juicing up like crazy to level the playing field.
Both parties deny (http://www.slate.com/id/2139038/) that the conversation took place.

Dom Heffner
08-08-2007, 02:16 PM
Both parties deny that the conversation took place.

The link you provided explains why they deny it, too.

I'm curious- do you think if Barry Bonds had that conversation, he would admit it? Griffey, too?

Redsland
08-08-2007, 02:58 PM
I'm just providing documentation for the camisadelgolf's anecdote. The reader is free to draw his or her own conclusions.

Dom Heffner
08-08-2007, 03:22 PM
Gotcha.