Last Updated on June 29, 2022 by Matt Musico
Barry Bonds is a polarizing topic among baseball fans for obvious reasons. Before he enjoyed his late-career surge between 2001 and 2004, he was already a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Then came all the home runs and his body changing, and after falling off the BBWAA ballot in 2022, his chances of reaching baseball immortality will soon be in the hands of the veteran’s committee. That sounds ridiculous for a player with the most home runs all time, but that’s where we’re at now. All that stuff is important, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t take a few minutes to enjoy some Barry Bonds home runs, right? Right.
Milestone Barry Bonds Home Runs
For whatever reason, Bonds’ first career homer and 200th homer are nowhere to be found on YouTube, but we’ve got all the other century marks, with a few other important ones mixed in between.
July 12, 1990: Home Run #100 vs. Padres
Bonds had enjoyed a couple of good years with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1990 when he put it all together as a 25-year-old. He was selected to his first of 14 All-Star Games, as well as winning the first of his seven (!) MVP awards.
The left-handed slugger also surpassed the 30-homer, 100-RBI plateau for the first time (33 dingers and 114 RBI), along with hitting .301/.406/.565 through 621 plate appearances. This was the start of a dominant three-year stretch that helped land him in the top five of Pirates all-time home run leaders.
April 27, 1996: Home Run #300 vs. Marlins
By the time 1996 rolled around, a usual season for Bonds included an All-Star Game appearance, a top-five finish in NL MVP voting, a Silver Slugger award, and a Gold Glove. So, yes, before performance-enhancing drugs did their thing, he was already a force to be reckoned with. He led the league in intentional walks (30) and overall walks (151) for the fifth and fourth time in his career, respectively.
He didn’t just walk a bunch, though. Bonds enjoyed a second season of 40-plus homers with 42 taters, while his 129 RBI represented the sixth time he reached that milestone since 1990. In addition to those 42 homers, Bonds also swiped 40 bags for the Giants, giving him one of the very few 40 home run, 40 stolen base seasons in baseball history thus far. He also became one of MLB’s Home Run Derby winners in July of this year.
August 23, 1998: Home Run #400 vs. Marlins
This was another one of those “normal” seasons for Bonds, where he slashed .303/.438/.609 with 37 homers, 122 RBI, 120 runs scored, 44 doubles, and 28 stolen bases. This was his seventh consecutive year with at least 30 homers, which was a streak that’d extend all the way to 2004, giving him 13 seasons in a row with at least that many dingers.
His 400th home run was a special one because it helped him become the first player to enter the 400-400 club: 400 homers and 400 steals. And as it turns out, he was just getting warmed up with the ridiculousness he was about to supply.
April 17, 2001: Home Run #500 vs. Dodgers
After finishing second in NL MVP voting to his teammate, Jeff Kent, Bonds went on an absolute tear in the early 2000s. He won his first of four straight MVPs in 2001 thanks to hitting .328/.515/.863 (!!) with 73 home runs, 137 RBI, and 129 runs scored.
While it didn’t happen immediately, it would also be a factor in helping Bonds form his own club: players with 500 homers and 500 steals for their career. Obviously, nobody else has done something like that, and it just so happened that this wasn’t the most significant homer of his season in 2001.
October 5, 2001: Home Run #565 vs. Dodgers
Although Roger Maris’ 61 homers in a single season held up the test of time for 30-plus years, Mark McGwire could only enjoy his record for three seasons. Bonds was unbelievable from start to finish for the Giants in 2001, as his monthly OPS never dropped below 1.100 as he finished with the most home runs in a season in MLB history.
From the standpoint of power, the slugger got himself off to a great start, hitting 39 through the end of June. However, things slowed down considerably in July, as he hit just six dingers. But over the last two months, Bonds went absolutely nuts by hitting a combined 28 homers (12 in August, 16 in September) with 51 RBI. He posted a 1.423 OPS in August, and it got even better in September/October, settling in at 1.685.
August 9, 2002: Home Run #600 vs. Pirates
After a historic single-season performance in 2001, the following year included 46 home runs and 110 RBI. They also included a line of .370/.582/.799, all numbers that led the league.
Home run number 600 was significant because he became the fourth player to enter this exclusive club. It’s intriguing to see exactly how he found entry into this group, especially since he hit more than 50 home runs in a season just once. But again, it was the consistency of his performance that got him to the spot where he found himself on one August night in 2002. He’d also end up hitting eight homers in October, which is among the most home runs in a postseason.
April 12, 2004: Home Run #660 vs. Brewers
This home run put him in unique company because it’s not every day you are tied with your godfather for career MLB home runs, and it’s definitely not every day that your godfather is Willie Mays. That’s cool. The 2004 campaign was the end of what’s possibly the most dominant four-year stretch by a position player in baseball history.
During these four consecutive seasons, which spanned 2,443 plate appearances, he slashed a truly unbelievable .349/.559/.809 with an average of 52 home runs and 110 RBI. What’s even more interesting is the percentage of his career homers that came during this span of time. Bonds hit 209 homers from 2001-04, which means about 27% of his career dingers came during 18% of his career.
September 17, 2004: Home Run #700 vs. Padres
Since the mid-1970s, baseball history had only seen two different players slug more homers in their respective careers than Bonds at this point: Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). What I love about this home run is that it barely looks like Bonds is trying to get his weight behind it, yet he still hits an oppo-taco home run to a deep part of the ballpark in San Francisco.
Bonds eventually enjoyed his 14th and final season of 40-plus homers as he was wrapping up yet another NL MVP campaign, but that wasn’t all. He led the league in walks for the fifth consecutive year with 232, and nobody in baseball had a better batting average (.362), on-base percentage (.609), slugging percentage (.812), and OPS (1.422).
The left-handed slugger finished with 11.9 fWAR, which was the fourth straight year he eclipsed 10.0. His cumulative fWAR between 2001 and 2004 was 47.3, which many ballplayers would call an excellent career.
May 28, 2006: Home Run #715 vs. Rockies
Talk about an excruciating wait, right? It took Bonds nearly two full years to surpass Babe Ruth because he was limited to just 14 games in 2005 (he hit five home runs). It was the only time he played fewer than 100 games in a season for his entire career.
Even though Bonds’ production dropped off rather significantly when compared to 2001-04, he was still a force within the Giants’ order as a 41-year-old. He produced 3.2 fWAR with 26 home runs and 77 RBI, along with slashing .270/.454/.545.
He still had a ways to go to catch Hank Aaron, but passing Babe Ruth gave him the most homers in MLB history among left-handed hitters.
August 7, 2007: Home Run #756 vs. Nationals
This season from Bonds was nearly identical to what he put up in 2006. That’s impressive considering the daily pressures he dealt with while approaching Aaron, all in his age-42 campaign. These kinds of moments called for just the right person in the booth to narrate everything, and I’ll tell you what, this home run call is one of my favorites. I still get goosebumps every time I hear it.
It’s also interesting that many of these milestone home runs that Bonds hit came in front of the home crowd in San Francisco.
September 5, 2007: Home Run #762 vs. Rockies
Bonds slugged several moonshots throughout his impressive career. With that said, it’s ironic that the last one of his career didn’t actually leave the park on its own and needed some fan assistance to make it happen.
Even so, some of the final career numbers for Bonds are just insane, and that’s not even talking about the 762 homers. He also has the most walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688) in baseball history. His 173 wRC+ and 164.4 fWAR are among the best, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around him having a career walk rate of 20.3% with a career strikeout rate of 12.2%.