Tossing all the allegations of steroid use aside for a second (but just a second), the raw numbers of Barry Bonds’ career are daunting: The Major League career home run record of 762, the career record of 688 intentional walks, 1,996 RBI, seven MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances and eight Gold Gloves.
Yes, the former Pittsburgh and San Francisco superstar truly dominated the game like no one had before him.
But could we be in the midst of watching someone even better in Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera? Bonds believes so.
Well, sort of.
“He’s definitely the best,” Bonds told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview Monday. “It’s not rocket science here.
“He’s the best. By far. Without a doubt. The absolute best.’ …”
“I don’t try to compare me to anybody,” Bonds said. “I was the best on the field. I did more things than he did. My game was different than his game. So comparing him, to me, there’s no comparison.
“He doesn’t have my MVPs. He doesn’t have my numbers. Well, not yet, anyways.
“But does he have that ability? Yes, he does.
“Does he have that gift? Yes, he does.”
Cabrera has surpassed the 100 RBI plateau in every season he has played save for his rookie year, when he only appeared in 87 games while helping to lead the Marlins to the 2003 World Series. He has garnered MVP votes every single year he has played, including that rookie year, and won his first award just last year.
That was when he became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the coveted Triple Crown by leading the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44), and RBIs (139).
What’s even more impressive is that Cabrera may be playing even better this year. As of writing, the superstar leads the league in batting average at a whopping .387 and RBIs with 47. His 11 home runs are currently tied for fifth but are only two off the lead in a very bunched field.
Those types of numbers are just mind-boggling, to us as fans and to Bonds as well.
“Winning a Triple Crown is amazing to me,” Bonds said. “I tried to win a Triple Crown, and couldn’t do it. I tried to do it, I really did, but I had guys like Tony Gwynn in the way.
“So it’s amazing to see him do it once. But to see him do it again, wow, that would really throw me off the charts.
“I couldn’t do it once, and then to see him to do it twice, now that would be shocking.
What may be even more shocking is the fact that Cabrera has never been implicated in any sort of performance enhancing drug use.
If Cabrera can keep up his torrid pace for the next decade (longevity is necessary in baseball in order to compile stats comparable to the all-time greats) he will go down as one of the best to ever play.
As well as, hopefully, one of the cleanest to ever do it.