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First-ballot (fantasy) Hall of Famer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While he'll have to wait to be enshrined in Cooperstown, Barry Bonds will live on forever in all the bars, basements and backyards where we held our drafts over the years.

After all, those locales play host to another Hall of Fame, one in which Bonds is a first-ballot inductee: the Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bonds never brought home a World Series Championship for the San Francisco Giants, but he undoubtedly won countless fantasy titles for his owners with some of the most eye-popping seasons in MLB history, seasons that look like they were produced by a kid playing "MVP Baseball" on the easiest setting.

The 2001 season obviously jumps out first when looking at Bonds' career statistics since he belted a single-season record 73 homers. During that record-breaking year, Bonds also hit .328 with 137 RBIs, 129 runs, 13 steals and an OPS of 1.379.

This past season, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera led the majors with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, Angels outfielder Mike Trout was first with 129 runs and Buster Posey had the highest average at .336. Nobody had an OPS better than Cabrera's .999. In other words, Bonds was so good in 2001 it was like combining the best statistical players from 2012, and then adding 29 homers.

He was so good in 2001 that pitchers spent 2002-04 throwing Bonds about one strike per game -- he walked 578 times in 420 games over those three years. Despite being pitched around like no one since Babe Ruth, Bonds still connected for 46 homers in 2002, and 45 homers in both 2003 and 2004.

Bonds also won two batting titles during those three years, hitting .370 in 2002 and .362 in 2004. He lost out on three straight by batting a lowly .341 in 2003.

While Bonds may have been a few hat sizes smaller back in his Pittsburgh Pirates days, he was no less a fantasy star back then than in 2001-04. Just look at his 1990 season, when he hit .301 with 33 homers and 52 steals, one of two 30-50 seasons in major league history.

The outfielder followed with 59 homers and 82 steals in his final two Pittsburgh seasons and added 46 homers, 123 RBIs, 129 runs and 29 steals to go with a .336 average and 1.136 OPS in his first season with the Giants.

The 1996 season saw Bonds become the second player ever to post 40 homers and 40 steals in one season, and he nearly repeated the feat in 1997, coming three steals shy.

Overall, Bonds clubbed 33 or more homers with an OPS of 1.006 or better in 13 straight seasons from 1992-2004. He scored 100 or more runs in 11 of those years and drove in 100 runs in 10 of them.

He finished his career with 762 homers, most in MLB history, 1,996 RBIs, 2,935 hits, 2,227 runs, 601 doubles, 2,558 walks, 1,539 strikeouts and 514 stolen bases. He batted .298, reached base at a .444 clip and slugged .607.

Perhaps more than any other player, Bonds' numbers embody the term "fantasy" because they just don't seem like something a human being could accomplish; even the stats from the years before he was suspected of PED usage are unreal.

That's why there's no denying his place among the all-time fantasy greats. Because in the Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame, all that matters are the numbers, and Bonds' are magnificent.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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