Barry Bonds Struck Out Three Times in His MLB Debut: This Day in Sports History

Stephen Douglas
A younger, slimmer Barry Bonds.
A younger, slimmer Barry Bonds. / George Gojkovich/Getty Images
facebooktwitter

Barry Bonds made his Pittsburgh Pirates debut on May 30, 1986. As the lead-off hitter, the first pitcher Bonds ever faced was Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hershiser was coming of a 19-win season, but didn't even make it through four innings this day. No thanks to Bonds, however, who went 0-for-5 and struck out three times in a Pirates' loss.

In a very weird quirk, Bonds actually got a hit in a game that took place on April 20th. With the Pirates and Cubs tied 8-8 in the 14th, play was suspended because it was getting dark and there were no lights at Wrigley Field. When the game resumed in August, Bonds drove in the winning runs in the top of the 17th. One of those runners was fellow rookie Bobby Bonilla. Adding Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla in the middle of a game just doesn't seem fair. Of course, the Pirates never won a postseason series with that pair in the lineup.

Bonds would go on to strike out a career-high 102 times as a rookie. It was the only time he struck out 100 times in a season. By his fourth season, he had 93 walks and 93 strikeouts. After that, he never really came close to having more K's than BB's for the rest of his career. Just over six and a half percent of his career strikeouts came in his rookie season, in just 3.8 percent of his career games.

Bonds would finish sixth in Rookie of the Year voting behind Will Clark, Charlie Kerfeld, Kevin Mitchell, Bobby Thompson and the winner, Todd Worrell. Bonds would go on to win two MVP awards in Pittsburgh before leaving for San Francisco via free agency. In San Francisco he would win five more MVP awards, set the single-season home run record and pass Hank Aaron. You may remember some of these things happening. You probably don't remember his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame because it never happened.

facebooktwitter