Baseball What ifs.

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
I thought this would be a fun thing to start. Post a “what if question” or I will and we will see where it goes. I look forward to seeing the responses

What if #1: What if Barry Bonds doesn’t start to use steroids and ends on his pre 2000 trajectory in Home Runs? Is he a HOF.

Okay this is assuming a lot of things. Namely if there was a point where he wasn’t using. I think most would say 2000 is when he clearly started using since he had a spike in home runs that you don’t typically see in a 14 year player. So for argument’s sake let’s just assume that 2000 is the point he started using. So he has 445 at the end of the 1999 season and was averaging 32 HRs. It’s hard to say when he would end or how much the home run numbers would go down with age. I’m really unfamiliar with the old candle stick park. So that maybe an @selmaborntidefan point.

But I think the bigger question is “before 2000 was Barry Bonds having a HOF worthy career?”
 

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
What if #2: What if Leyland doesn’t trot Drabek back out for the 9th inning in game 7 in 1992 NLCS? Does Pittsburgh win the NLCS and the WS?
 

DogPatch

All-American
Dec 4, 2018
2,711
2,098
187
Tuscaloosa
I thought this would be a fun thing to start. Post a “what if question” or I will and we will see where it goes. I look forward to seeing the responses

What if #1: What if Barry Bonds doesn’t start to use steroids and ends on his pre 2000 trajectory in Home Runs? Is he a HOF.

Okay this is assuming a lot of things. Namely if there was a point where he wasn’t using. I think most would say 2000 is when he clearly started using since he had a spike in home runs that you don’t typically see in a 14 year player. So for argument’s sake let’s just assume that 2000 is the point he started using. So he has 445 at the end of the 1999 season and was averaging 32 HRs. It’s hard to say when he would end or how much the home run numbers would go down with age. I’m really unfamiliar with the old candle stick park. So that maybe an @selmaborntidefan point.

But I think the bigger question is “before 2000 was Barry Bonds having a HOF worthy career?”
I hate to say it, but I think he makes it easily without the juice. Multiple MVPs, Gold Gloves, and leading the league in almost every offensive stat two or more times before 2000 makes it easy to believe he gets over 500, and close to 600 HRs if continued on the same trajectory he was on.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
There’s zero doubt Bonds makes it even if he retires prior to 2000. For starters, in addition to his 445 homers he had 445 steals, too. He’d led the league in walks four times, won 8 Gold Gloves, played on every All-Star team save 1991 (in that decade), led in slugging pct four times and won 3 MVPs. There used to be an almost deliberate attempt by voters to never give a guy more than 3 MVP awards.

Bonds could have walked off the field after the 1999 season and been elected first ballot along with stories about “he quit at 36, what would his numbers be if he stayed” and he’d look better now in the post-steroid fallout.

Candlestick and 3 Rivers both were pitchers parks, not as much as the Astrodome but obviously difficult. Not knocking Hank Aaron but put him on the Giants and Willie Mays on the Braves and the Say Hey Kid blows past 800 homers. There would be articles about how Bonds would have topped 600 if he had played elsewhere and not walked down much.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
What if #2: What if Leyland doesn’t trot Drabek back out for the 9th inning in game 7 in 1992 NLCS? Does Pittsburgh win the NLCS and the WS?
The bullpen blows it. That’s why he didn’t pull Drabek. The question at the time was why he didn’t bring in knuckler Tim Wakefield. Drabek was their guts and he had no way of knowing Jose Lind was going to boot the ball. That one error lost the game.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 81usaf92

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
What if #3: What if Denkinger calls Orta out?

This is probably the most highly disputed What if. On one side the Cards still whine to this day that the blown call costed them the WS. On the other the Royals pointed out that Orta didn’t factor in the win at all since he was out later in the inning. But regardless what side the two Missouri based teams take it’s obviously one of the most debated calls in history.
 
Last edited:

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
What if #4: What if Leyland doesn’t block the Bonds trade to Atlanta?

Not to dwell on Bonds and Atlanta, but this is potentially a WS and dynasty changing move. One could argue that the Jays won the WS in large part because Leyland blocked this trade. However if this happened Bonds would only be under contract for one year. So does Bonds win Atlanta the 92 WS and does keeping him cost Atlanta Greg Maddux.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
What if #3: What if Denkinger calls Orta out?

This is probably the most highly disputed What if. On one side the Cards still whine to this day that the blown call costed them the WS. On the other the Royals pointed out that Orta didn’t factor in the win at all since he was out later in the inning. But regardless what side the two Missouri based teams take it’s obviously one of the most debated calls in history.
It is insanely disingenuous of Royals fans to pretend "but Orta was out" later is even a valid argument. They don't bother to mention that that means the entire MOMENTUM of the series is still in the Cards' favor.

The problem with it, though, is okay, let's say Denkinger calls Orta out. I'm not sure how that plays into Jack Clark's misplay of a pop foul, Darrell Porter's passed ball, or Dane Iorg's single to right that scored the winning run on the slow legs of Jim Sundberg.

St Louis was a very good team that year but they were VERY FORTUNATE to even be ahead at that point. If Dick Howser hadn't gone Full Idiot in game 2, the Royals would have won the World Series on that inning for real. Ultimately, St Louis had a 7th game with a 20-game winner on the hill for them and couldn't finish the job.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
What if #4: What if Leyland doesn’t block the Bonds trade to Atlanta?

Not to dwell on Bonds and Atlanta, but this is potentially a WS and dynasty changing move. One could argue that the Jays won the WS in large part because Leyland blocked this trade. However if this happened Bonds would only be under contract for one year. So does Bonds win Atlanta the 92 WS and does keeping him cost Atlanta Greg Maddux.
Barry Bonds was such a choke artist pre-2002 in the post-season that this is one of those moves I should be thankful for every day of my life. Bonds was a clubhouse cancer who likely would have destroyed any chance the Braves had at repeating. And it would have cost the Braves long-term, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: B1GTide and UAH

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
It is insanely disingenuous of Royals fans to pretend "but Orta was out" later is even a valid argument. They don't bother to mention that that means the entire MOMENTUM of the series is still in the Cards' favor.

The problem with it, though, is okay, let's say Denkinger calls Orta out. I'm not sure how that plays into Jack Clark's misplay of a pop foul, Darrell Porter's passed ball, or Dane Iorg's single to right that scored the winning run on the slow legs of Jim Sundberg.

St Louis was a very good team that year but they were VERY FORTUNATE to even be ahead at that point. If Dick Howser hadn't gone Full Idiot in game 2, the Royals would have won the World Series on that inning for real. Ultimately, St Louis had a 7th game with a 20-game winner on the hill for them and couldn't finish the job.
You got to remember that being a cardinals fan is like being an Alabama fan and being a Royals fan is like being an Auburn fan. One side will spend a lifetime harping on shenanigans that once in what amounts to a footnote of their long successful history benefitted little brother, and the other will totally ignore that shenanigans happened and big brother just is too much of a coward to admit little brother gave him a black eye.
 

Bamabuzzard

FB Moderator
Aug 15, 2004
26,480
4,422
232
45
Where ever there's BBQ, Bourbon & Football
I thought this would be a fun thing to start. Post a “what if question” or I will and we will see where it goes. I look forward to seeing the responses

What if #1: What if Barry Bonds doesn’t start to use steroids and ends on his pre 2000 trajectory in Home Runs? Is he a HOF.

Okay this is assuming a lot of things. Namely if there was a point where he wasn’t using. I think most would say 2000 is when he clearly started using since he had a spike in home runs that you don’t typically see in a 14 year player. So for argument’s sake let’s just assume that 2000 is the point he started using. So he has 445 at the end of the 1999 season and was averaging 32 HRs. It’s hard to say when he would end or how much the home run numbers would go down with age. I’m really unfamiliar with the old candle stick park. So that maybe an @selmaborntidefan point.

But I think the bigger question is “before 2000 was Barry Bonds having a HOF worthy career?”
I think he definitely would because it's not like if he didn't start using in 2000 he would have immediately retired. I think he still would have added enough HR's to go over 500 and maybe had a decent shot to get to 600, which would basically seal his place in the HOF. But I have no doubt in my mind that without steroids he would have never caught Aaron's HR record.
 
  • Like
Reactions: B1GTide

Bamabuzzard

FB Moderator
Aug 15, 2004
26,480
4,422
232
45
Where ever there's BBQ, Bourbon & Football
Barry Bonds was such a choke artist pre-2002 in the post-season that this is one of those moves I should be thankful for every day of my life. Bonds was a clubhouse cancer who likely would have destroyed any chance the Braves had at repeating. And it would have cost the Braves long-term, too.
There's a documentary on the Braves/Pirates series (with the famous Sid Bream slide at home) and they interviewed Andy Van Slyke. Van Slyke claimed that a few pitches before Cabrera's single that he told Bond's to move to his left and not play so close to the LF line. Van Slyke said Bonds gave him the middle finger and maybe a few choice words and stayed put, only to have Cabrera hit the ball exactly where Van Slyke feared he would, and Bond's playing where he was it took him an extra three to four steps to get to the ball.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
There's a documentary on the Braves/Pirates series (with the famous Sid Bream slide at home) and they interviewed Andy Van Slyke. Van Slyke claimed that a few pitches before Cabrera's single that he told Bond's to move to his left and not play so close to the LF line. Van Slyke said Bonds gave him the middle finger and maybe a few choice words and stayed put, only to have Cabrera hit the ball exactly where Van Slyke feared he would, and Bond's playing where he was it took him an extra three to four steps to get to the ball.
I haven't seen that, but I heard about that years ago. And it didn't surprise me at all.
 

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
You got to remember that being a cardinals fan is like being an Alabama fan and being a Royals fan is like being an Auburn fan. One side will spend a lifetime harping on shenanigans that once in what amounts to a footnote of their long successful history benefitted little brother, and the other will totally ignore that shenanigans happened and big brother just is too much of a coward to admit little brother gave him a black eye.
St Louis was a very good team that year, but they sort of forget they probably should have lost that series in no more than five games.

Game One - the Royals had two runners thrown out at home plate on botches and had the bases loaded in the 7th and didn't score.

Game Two - the Royals led, 2-0, entering the ninth and for reasons nobody knows, Dick Howser left the best reliever in baseball in the bullpen while the Cards got four runs and won the game.

KC won games 3 and 5 going away.

St Louis was fortunate they even made it to game six. YES, it was a terrible call. But does anyone really believe that there weren't bad calls during the season? You have to overcome them. Think about this: GAME FOUR was the ONLY GAME of the entire seven-game series where St Louis had more hits than KC did. And yes, the Cardinals were missing Vince Coleman, which shook up their offensive strategy a bit.

On the other hand, the Cards won the first five games Coleman didn't play, all in the post-season. So how indispensable was he REALLY?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 81usaf92

selmaborntidefan

TideFans Legend
Mar 31, 2000
26,089
8,946
287
51
Wishing I was somewhere close to Duluth with a sli
You'll hear more sports reporters talk about it than players, but the few players that have said spoken said Bonds was an absolute cancer in the lockerroom.
True story - when the rumor hit the Braves team in early 1992 that Bonds was coming over, it was thought by some that he'd be in the outfield with Justice (although IIRC, Justice was actually going to be part of that trade). But not knowing the details, it is alleged one of the Braves players was musing about Bonds and Justice in the same locker room and said, "Can you imagine having the two biggest (eight letter word that starts with "a") in the same locker room?"

There was some genuine fear not only of who was getting traded but more of what Bonds could do to mess up a team. I don't find it to be any accident the man never won a World Series.

You may remember that in his younger days Gary Sheffield Sr was a jerk, too. He matured and mellowed, but allegedly he told Bonds one time before the BALCO scandal came out that Bonds was walking a tight rope and was the kind of guy who treated people badly just to be a jerk. Sheffield allegedly told him that if he wasn't careful, one day he was going to find himself in big trouble and not have anyone take up for him because of what a jerk he was to people. And BALCO pretty much was what did that.

It will always irk me that BONDS was the guy who passed the epitome of class and dignity, Hank Aaron. I mean, if it had been maybe McGwire or Ken Griffey Jr (the one I was hoping would do so) or even to a lesser extent A-Rod, I might not have liked it but it would have been okay.

That it was Bonds? Still yuck. I could have dealt with him being a YOUNG jerk, but he needed to learn to be a Tony Gwynn type of guy.
 

Bamabuzzard

FB Moderator
Aug 15, 2004
26,480
4,422
232
45
Where ever there's BBQ, Bourbon & Football
What if #4: What if Leyland doesn’t block the Bonds trade to Atlanta?

Not to dwell on Bonds and Atlanta, but this is potentially a WS and dynasty changing move. One could argue that the Jays won the WS in large part because Leyland blocked this trade. However if this happened Bonds would only be under contract for one year. So does Bonds win Atlanta the 92 WS and does keeping him cost Atlanta Greg Maddux.
Though it is now left to speculation, I believe Bonds going to the Braves would have been a disaster for that team's chemistry and success. I could easily see Bonds clashing with several key players on that team.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 81usaf92

81usaf92

Hall of Fame
Apr 26, 2008
22,591
13,015
187
South Alabama
True story - when the rumor hit the Braves team in early 1992 that Bonds was coming over, it was thought by some that he'd be in the outfield with Justice (although IIRC, Justice was actually going to be part of that trade). But not knowing the details, it is alleged one of the Braves players was musing about Bonds and Justice in the same locker room and said, "Can you imagine having the two biggest (eight letter word that starts with "a") in the same locker room?"

There was some genuine fear not only of who was getting traded but more of what Bonds could do to mess up a team. I don't find it to be any accident the man never won a World Series.

You may remember that in his younger days Gary Sheffield Sr was a jerk, too. He matured and mellowed, but allegedly he told Bonds one time before the BALCO scandal came out that Bonds was walking a tight rope and was the kind of guy who treated people badly just to be a jerk. Sheffield allegedly told him that if he wasn't careful, one day he was going to find himself in big trouble and not have anyone take up for him because of what a jerk he was to people. And BALCO pretty much was what did that.

It will always irk me that BONDS was the guy who passed the epitome of class and dignity, Hank Aaron. I mean, if it had been maybe McGwire or Ken Griffey Jr (the one I was hoping would do so) or even to a lesser extent A-Rod, I might not have liked it but it would have been okay.

That it was Bonds? Still yuck. I could have dealt with him being a YOUNG jerk, but he needed to learn to be a Tony Gwynn type of guy.
In a way I’m hoping Freddie and Acuna pass Bonds just to put it back to classy naturally talented guys.

But I agree, had it been McGwire or Griffey I probably would be more receptive of it.

One thing I always heard was Jeff Kent and Snow almost whoop Bonds tail for being a jerk.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bamabuzzard

Bamabuzzard

FB Moderator
Aug 15, 2004
26,480
4,422
232
45
Where ever there's BBQ, Bourbon & Football
In a way I’m hoping Freddie and Acuna pass Bonds just to put it back to classy naturally talented guys.

But I agree, had it been McGwire or Griffey I probably would be more receptive of it.

One thing I always heard was Jeff Kent and Snow almost whoop Bonds tail for being a jerk.
Same here, I hope someone passes him who is easier to be happier for accomplishing the feat.

Regarding Jeff Kent and Bonds, wasn't their feud with each other a public thing? I don't think either one of them made an effort to hide it.