Bobby so much more than Barry's father

Bobby Bonds was a unique talent, who combined speed and power in a way that few before him ever had.

Updated: August 25, 2003, 10:21 AM ET
By Jim Baker
When your obituary appears in the New York Times, you made something of your life and Bobby Bonds most certainly did. Bonds, who passed away on Saturday, was an extremely talented ballplayer who deserves his space on the Times' famous obituary page.

Bonds was a unique talent, a man who combined speed and power in a way that few before him ever had. It was his fortune (and, to some extent, misfortune) to enter the big leagues to play alongside one of the men who had -- Willie Mays. While he learned much from having Mays as a teammate, Bonds was bound to suffer by comparison as anybody would.

Bobby Bonds
Bobby Bonds possessed a rare blend of speed and power.
One of the most ironic trades of all time was the one that sent Bonds to the Yankees for Bobby Murcer. Hype had visited them both with a vengeance as each was supposed to represent the next generation's version of those one-time New York stalwarts Mays and Mickey Mantle, respectively. That is an awful burden to place on anybody. In the future, it would be best not to compare newcomers to all-time greats so that when they post decent careers -- as both Bonds and Murcer did -- they will not seem like abject failures by comparison.
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at