Glove and Bat

The Unmatched Brilliance of Barry Bonds: A Look Back at His 2004 Season

Barry Bonds Career Before 2004

When discussing Barry Bonds, it is essential to start with the player he was before his 2004 season. Bonds was a highly touted prospect going into the 1985 MLB draft.

The outfielder was drafted sixth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he quickly made a name for himself. Bonds broke out in his second year with the Pirates, hitting .311 with a .927 OPS.

The following season, he would hit 34 home runs, drive in 103 runs and steal 52 bases. The 1990 season saw Bonds lead the league in slugging percentage, OPS, and walks.

The San Francisco Giants signed Bonds to a record-breaking six-year, $43.75 million deal before the 1993 season, and Bonds would continue to produce at an exceptional level. In his first year with the Giants, he would hit .336 with 46 home runs and 123 RBIs, earning himself the first of his seven career National League Most Valuable Player Awards.

Bonds would earn All-Star honors in his first season with the Giants and would go on to earn 12 All-Star selections in his career. Bonds was not just an offensive juggernaut.

He was a fantastic defensive player, earning eight Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards throughout his career with the Giants. He was a five-tool player who could do it all.

In his first nine seasons with the Giants, Bonds hit .306 with 438 home runs and 1,289 RBIs, while stealing 347 bases. He was a legitimate threat on the basepaths, and his combination of speed and power was unmatched by any player in the league.

Dominant Years in the 2000s

The 2000s saw Barry Bonds reach heights that many believed were impossible. From 2001 to 2004, Bonds won four straight National League MVP awards, bringing his total to seven, which tied him with Hall of Famer Stan Musial for the most in league history.

Bonds’ 2001 season was one for the ages as he hit 73 home runs, shattering Mark McGwire’s previous record of 70 home runs in a single season. Bonds’ existing home run record was an astonishing achievement, as he broke the record held by the great Hank Aaron.

Bonds’ offensive production was unparalleled during this time. Between 2001 and 2004, he hit .349 with 209 home runs, 524 RBIs, and a .737 slugging percentage.

He led the league in on-base percentage during each of those seasons, and in 2004 he set the single-season record for walks with 232.

Barry Bonds 2004 Season

Bonds’ 2004 season was one for the record books, even by his standards. The outfielder had turned 40 the previous offseason, but he showed no signs of slowing down.

Bonds won his eighth career National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2004, becoming the oldest player in history to win the award. He hit .362 with a .609 on-base percentage and a .812 slugging percentage.

Bonds set the single-season record for intentional walks with 120, breaking his previous record of 68. He also set the record for the highest on-base percentage in a single season at .609, beating Babe Ruth’s previous record of .582.

Milestones Reached

Bonds was not only winning awards in 2004, but he was also achieving significant milestones. On June 29th, 2004, in a game against the Oakland Athletics, Bonds hit his 700th career home run.

This made him just the third player in history, after Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, to reach that mark. Bonds would eventually finish his career with 762 home runs, the most in baseball history.

Comparisons to Other Great Seasons

Bonds’ 2004 season is one that is often compared to other great individual seasons in baseball history. Aaron Judge’s incredible 2017 rookie season, in which he hit 52 home runs and finished second in the American League MVP voting, has drawn many comparisons to Bonds’ 2004 campaign.

The other season that often comes up in discussions of the greatest individual seasons is Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season, in which he hit .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBIs.


Barry Bonds’ career was exceptional, and his 2004 season was one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of baseball. Between his offensive production, the milestones he achieved, and the records he set, Bonds’ 2004 campaign will go down as one of the most remarkable in baseball history.

While some may debate the legitimacy of his accomplishments, there is no denying the impact that Bonds had on the game during his career. Barry Bonds was a legendary baseball player who carved his name in the history books of the sport.

Before 2004, he was already a force to be reckoned with, displaying his incredible talent with impressive numbers. His dominant years in the 2000s saw him break records and win numerous awards, including four straight National League MVP Awards from 2001-2004.

Bonds’ 2004 season stands out, earning him his eighth career MVP, achieving milestones, and breaking several records. While his career may be tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, Bonds’ skills as a player cannot be ignored.

Despite the controversy surrounding him, Bonds remains a prominent and influential figure in baseball history.


Q: How many MVP awards did Barry Bonds receive?

A: Barry Bonds won a total of seven National League MVP awards, a feat tied with Stan Musial for the most in league history. Q: How many home runs did Bonds hit in his career?

A: Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs in his career, the most in baseball history. Q: Did Barry Bonds’ 2004 season break any records?

A: Yes, Bonds’ 2004 season broke several records, including the most intentional walks in a season and the highest on-base percentage in a single season. Q: How is Barry Bonds’ legacy impacted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use?

A: While Bonds’ reputation and legacy have been negatively impacted by allegations and investigations into his PED use, his accomplishments and skills as a player remain notable and influential in baseball history.

Q: What are some other great individual seasons in baseball history that are often compared to Bonds’ 2004 season?

A: Other individual seasons that are often compared to Bonds’ 2004 season include Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season and Aaron Judge’s 2017 rookie year.

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