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Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run a decade ago, so let’s celebrate how absurd that was

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Stop arguing about Bonds for a second and appreciate just how many home runs he hit.

Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

It’s the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds hitting his 756th home run, and I have thoughts. They’re the thoughts of someone who was there and unambiguously cheered him on. See that picture up there? I’m in it.

And I ... I think I’m recording it on a flip phone? I did not remember that, and now my week will be spent looking through boxes and ordering cables to connect this dinosaur to my computer. Great.

Anyway, it’s the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds hitting his 756th home run, and I have thoughts, but they’re not important. If you want Important Barry Bonds Thoughts, I’ve collected those here, and it turns out those weren’t important, either. But that was a substantial article about a divisive, conflicted human being. This one is not.

My thoughts on the 10th anniversary of 756 are these: Holy crap, 756 home runs are a lot of home runs.

This is obvious, I’m absolutely clear on that, but it’s also something we take for granted. Because when you bring up the record in polite company, there will be instant opinions:

Cheater. Aaron is still the true king.

Bonds is the best. He was amazing, and the PED brigade missed on a helluva lot.

I really wish the PEDs weren’t hanging over the record, but it’s still quite an accomplishment, and he had to face a lot of juiced pitchers, too, which is important, but that doesn’t change the fact that he broke the rules to risk his health and receive an advantage over his peers, which isn’t something that everyone was willing to do, and furthermore ...

Yeah, there’s nuance, but you are under no obligation to pay attention to it. You can either scream about the cheating or scream about the people who scream about the cheating, and you’ll fit into this little debate just fine.

I would like us to enjoy détente for just one day and say it all together: Holy crap, 756 home runs are a lot of home runs.

Like, seriously. I mean, whoa. Right? Just like ... damn. The concept turns me into an idiot, and I keep mumbling the number over and over again in a Spicoli voice. I would like to share this amazement and confusion with you.

Consider the concept of 256 home runs. It’s a lot of home runs. It’s what John Olerud and Kirk Gibson each hit in their respective 17-year careers. It’s more home runs than Robin Yount, Dusty Baker, Cecil Cooper, or Roberto Clemente hit. Giancarlo Stanton should get there by the end of his season, and it’s taken him eight years of being a confirmed dinger lord to hit even that many. The next home run Buster Posey hits will be the 128th of his career, which means he’s halfway to 256.

When Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, that means he had hit as many as all those players ... plus an extra 500 home runs on top. If you take away a homer from Bonds for every one that Clemente hit, he would still be one of the top 20 home run hitters of all time.

I mean, 756 home runs ... that’s ... I mean, like ... come on, right? ... [several sustained minutes of stoned chuckling] ... bro, for real.

Let’s find another way to describe it, using Stanton up there. The Marlins slugger is on pace for 53 home runs this year, which would give him 261 for his career. That would leave him 495 short of 756 home runs, but the good news is that he’s young. He’ll be 28 in November, and he’s in his prime right now.

It would take 10 seasons of 50 home runs for Stanton to reach 756 home runs. Do you know how long 10 seasons is? One way to put it in perspective is that 10 seasons ago, Barry Freaking Bonds was in the league, hitting home runs willy-nilly. It seems like he’s been gone for 20 years, but it was just 10 seasons ago that he was doing this stuff. So imagine that since then, there’s been a guy hitting 50 homers every season, without fail.

There have been 43 different 50-homer seasons in baseball history. Stanton does not have one of them. He hasn’t even hit 40 homers in a season yet. So maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that anyone could hit 50 homers every season.

If Stanton hits 40 per season, he would get to 756 home runs in just about 13 seasons. He would be 41 years old, and he will have had to stay healthy enough to hit 40 home runs for every season, without declining at any point. It could happen. But as we know from watching players like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, it’s extraordinarily unlikely to happen.

I know what you’re thinking. “Give Giancarlo Stanton a bunch of illegal help, and maybe he can do it.” If you think that’s a gotcha statement, buddy, I will sign the petition to make this happen. Even if it’s logistically impossible to find additional room on Stanton’s body for more beef and brawn, I am very much into the idea of him staying healthy, dealing with the daily grind better, and recovering from injuries quicker, so you’re not tricking me. I am for this.

That doesn’t mean it’s likely, though. Because 756 home runs? Excuse me while I make a whistling sound so long and loud that it gets every dog in the neighborhood barking. That is so many home runs. Take a moment to think about how many home runs that is. Because I checked, and it’s a lot.

Let’s go with Mike Trout, then, because even though it feels like he’s been around forever, he just turned 26 years old today and he already has 190 homers. This would seem to be baseball’s best chance at 756 (or 763, really). He’s on pace to hit 32 homers this year, which would give him an even 200 for his seven-season career.

If Trout hits another 200 homers over the next seven seasons, he’ll have 400.

If he hits another 200 homers over the seven seasons after that, he’ll have 600.

He would get to 756 in the middle of the sixth season following that.

He will be 46 years old when this happens. The year will be 2037. Players in the womb right now will be in the major leagues. That’s if he maintains his current pace, which began when he was preternaturally young and unspeakably talented.

This is because 756 home runs are a lot of home runs.

So before you take to the internet to argue about Barry Bonds, before you focus on the performance-enhancing drugs or make a point of not focusing on them, make that sustained whistling sound for a little bit. Because, good gravy, 756 home runs is a lot of home runs.

Before I go, I’m going to type 756 periods in honor of this accomplishment, counting out loud while I do it.

........................................................................................................................................................................

.......................................................................................................................................................................

......................................................................................................

That took me about 13 minutes because I kept screwing up and losing count, and then it broke my browser when I put a line break after each one. It made the page take four minutes to load. My original idea was to post 756 pictures of Guy Fieri and make you scroll past them, but the story editor kept freezing up after, like, 50 of them, probably because it’s sentient and merciful.

Anyway, the point is that all of those periods are mistakes, home runs that thoroughly crushed or annoyed hundreds of thousands of people watching or listening to the game, while simultaneously making hundreds of thousands of people watching or listening absolutely giddy. Every one of those is a grain of sand on a vast beach of Barry Bonds dingers. It’s amazing.

So before you parachute in with a hot take, before you defend your fortress of lukewarm takes against the hot-take marauders, just appreciate how many home runs 756 happens to be.

Because it’s a lot. An awful lot. Goodness, 756 home runs, how is that possible?

(And then he hit six more before he was colluded out of the game, just for good measure. Mercy.)


The strange journey of Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball