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Fri, 03.15.1946

He combined athletic power and speed, Bobby Bonds

Bobby Bondswith (son) Barry

*Bobby Bonds was born on this date in 1946. He was an African American baseball player.

From Riverside, California, Bobby Lee Bonds was the Southern California High School Athlete of the Year in 1964. He was then signed by the San Francisco Giants to play professional baseball. That same year his sister, Rosie, was a track star on the American 1964 Olympic team. By the middle of the 1968 season, Bobby was with the big league club, blasting a Grand Slam in his first major league game. In 1969, he was the starting right fielder, playing to the left of Willie Mays.

As a leadoff man for the Giants that year, he shared the NL lead with 120 runs scored, the first of five consecutive seasons he topped 100. Bonds collected 200 hits in 1970 despite 189 strikeouts, drove in 90 runs as a leadoff man, stole 40 bases five times for the Giants, and topped twenty homers six times. Bonds averaged 34 Home Runs and 41 stolen bases from 1969-74, and, in 1973, came close to becoming the first player to reach the 40-40 milestone. For a couple of years Bonds and Mays were a fantastic defensive outfield combination and then combined with Gary Matthews and Garry Maddox for what he believed was "the fastest outfield that’s ever been put on a baseball field."

Bonds also had a great arm and averaged 10 assists in his 11-year career. For the five-season stretch of 1969-1973, Bonds ranked first in the NL in runs; second in doubles, extra-base hits, and total bases; third in steals, games played, and at-bats; fourth in hits; and fifth in home runs. He was a two-time NL All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. Yet, after the 1974 season, he was dealt to the Yankees for Bobby Murcer, also an All-Star outfielder.

It was a high profile, controversial transaction, and one that failed to deliver results to either team. Bonds played as an All-Star center field for the Yankees in 1975, hitting 32 homers, and stealing 30 bases. But New York sent him to the Angels in the off-season for Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa, a deal that helped deliver three straight pennants to the Yankees. In the meantime, Bonds played for six teams over the next six years and retired. Bonds was married to his wife Pat, and had three sons: Barry, Ricky, and Bobby Jr. Barry is one of the best baseball players of his generation. Bobby Bonds died on August 23, 2003 from lung cancer.

Reference:
20th Century Baseball Chronicle
Year-By-Year History of major league Baseball
Copyright 1999, Publications International Ltd.
ISBN 0-7853-4074-2

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