Today's Fun Fact

Something I like to do every now and then is peruse through the Baseball-Reference leaderboards. I never uncover anything Earth-shattering, but there are always fun little nuggets. Things I didn't know, or - better - things I used to know but haven't thought about for a while. Luis Gonzalez hitting 57 home runs. Jay Bell laying down 39 sac bunts in 1990, then slugging 38 home runs in 1999. Hughie Jennings getting beaned 51 times in 1896.

The leaderboard that really caught my eye today, though, was this one. Everyone knows that Barry Bonds got intentionally walked all the time. I think everyone remembers that, for a few years, there, he pretty much never got a pitch to hit (and still slugged .800). But in 2004, Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times. 120 times. You can know that, and you can say that out loud, but it takes a while to sink in. If it ever sinks in.

From the single-season board, I moved over to the career board. Bonds, naturally, is the all-time leader in intentional walks, with 688. In second place? Hank Aaron, with 293. That's a gap of 395, or 135%.

And that's 688 career intentional walks in the regular season, mind you. Bonds also drew 21 in the playoffs, for a grand total of 709.

That number made me curious, so I started digging back through Seattle Mariners franchise history. Long story short: May 22nd, 1995.

Since May 22nd, 1995 - spanning 2,584 regular season and playoff games and nearly 100,000 plate appearances - the Seattle Mariners have drawn 708 intentional walks.

This team has had guys who draw a lot of free passes. Griffey. Ichiro. Edgar. Olerud. And still, Barry Bonds drew more intentional walks than this team has in nearly its last 16 years of existence.

For a second comparison, the Rays have drawn 377 intentional walks since they became a thing.

There are times when I wonder if people properly appreciate the unthinkability of Barry Bonds' statistics. There are other times when I wonder if doing that is even possible.

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