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Who is the best baseball player of all time? Show more Show less
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Baseball, since the late 19th Century, has been a quintessential American pastime and, today, the MLB serves as the second-most popular major North American sports league. Within such a long and storied history of outstanding individual performances, many baseball fans naturally gravitate toward this question. From the absolutely reality-defying sluggers, pitchers, outfielders, and catchers, who is the best baseball player of all time?

Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player ever Show more Show less

Barry Bonds put up the most jaw-dropping statistical career performance of all time, and his record number of dingers only scratches the surface of his sheer excellence as a baseball genius.
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Barry Bonds, accompanied by his many other skills, is the greatest hitter of all time

Barry Bonds outperformed all other hitters in the history of baseball and catapulted his individual statistics into what seems to be an unbeatable stratosphere.
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The Argument

Barry Bonds did not simply break Hank Aaron's all-time record for home runs - he did it at the end of an incredibly illustrious career that saw him achieve numbers and batting percentages never seen before in the 120+ years of the game. Bonds gained 7 National League MVPs and 14 all-star bids, but his work as an elite defender in the 1990's cannot be overlooked: he earned 8 Golden Glove Awards from 1990 to 1998, also earning Silver Slugger Awards during 7 of those seasons. Even before his historic home run performances in the 2000's, Bonds was at the top of the MLB in both hitting and fielding, three of his NL MVPs coming in this era. However, his batting numbers skyrocketed in the 2001 season, crushing a record 73 home runs in that season and following up in 2002 with .370 batting average, .582 on-base percentage, and .799 slugging percentage - all the best in the MLB. Bonds recorded the three best offensive seasons of all time, his OPS+ measuring 268 in 2002, 263 in 2004, and 259 in 2001. During the same period, he also achieved the best OBP, SLG%, and OPS in the entire league, four seasons in a row.[1] His preposterous batting numbers, on top of his historical virtuosity on both offense and defense, make Barry Bonds the greatest baseball player of all time.

Counter arguments

Barry Bonds was, in fact, a top-performing baseball player in the '80s and '90s, but if his career stopped before the turn of the 21st Century, he would not be in the GOAT conversation today. Setting aside the incongruous argument that simply hitting home runs equates to all-time excellence, Bonds' career is forever marred by his rampant use of PED's in the early 2000's[2], which is, conveniently, when his home run numbers reached too-good-to-believe highs. Without his participation in and historical benefit from steroids, Bonds would be another mid-tier, MVP-caliber player whose game began to die out in the latter half of his career, which is what we see with other baseball players time and time again. The argument that he is the greatest because of his record-breaking batting numbers (all coming in the height of his PED use) is, therefore, invalid.

Framing

Historically phenomenal and record-breaking batting statistics coupled with timelessly brilliant defensive prowess creates all-time greatness, and no one reached this mark more profoundly than Barry Bonds. His numbers will forever stand in the record books as some of the most astronomical feats of human skill and athleticism throughout our history, and his name is etched permanently among the all-time baseball greats.

Premises

[P1] Statistical prominence in all-time slugging history added onto an already illustrious and ground-breaking career on both sides of the game equates to ultimate greatness. [P2] Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter for major statistical categories like batting average and home runs, as well as one of the best simultaneous offensive and defensive players in history. [P3] Therefore, Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player ever.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Bonds' defense was not nearly on the same level of his offense in terms of historical significance, and the shadows covering the latter half of his career completely invalidate this argument of perceived greatness. [Rejecting P3] Bonds did not achieve those numbers on his own, so he is not the greatest of all time.

References

  1. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bondsba01.shtml
  2. https://www.espn.com/mlb/news/story?id=3113127

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 18:24 UTC

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