My Top 50 On Cardboard
1987 Topps Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is easily one of the five best offensive players to grace the uniform in the Majors, but he is probably the greatest bad guy of all-time. Fans across the game in every city had no problem booing Barry Bonds every time he came up to bat. I am talking about pre-steroids Bonds too. People hated Barry. Despite all the booing, yelling, and hate Barry Bonds is a pretty popular guy around the baseball card industry. I have had more than my fair share of good/great Barry Bonds cards over the years and have never had any difficulty finding collectors interested in buying or trading for these cards. While I am sure there are a fair number of Giants and a spattering of Pirates fans who actively seek out Bonds cards, there are plenty of other collectors who are still tracking down cards of the all-time home run leader's cards too. Bonds still remains one of the stronger players in the hobby.
Bonds has been a popular player since his cards first hit the hobby scene at the end of the 1986 season with his Topps Traded cards and the regular issue 1987 cards. One of my first white whale cards I chased down in my teen years was a copy of Bonds 1987 Fleer Glossy rookie card. Outside of the Johnny Ray error, the card was one of his most popular cards out there. Since the steroid allegations and end of his career the card has come down in value, but it's still an iconic and popular card amongst collectors.
While Bonds rookie cards were popular and high sought after, most of the cards from the first half of Bonds career are nice cards, but nothing worth rushing out and hunting down as soon as possible. Bonds was a star player during that time, but he was not overly popular and just merely offered card collectors a solid and mid-level star player to collect. As the 90s progressed, Bonds started to accumulate some great career numbers and reached some great individual goals. The accolades started to ramp up the market on Bonds cards. I first actively started seeking out Bonds cards for my collection during the summer of 1996 when he was chasing down the elusive 40 home runs/40 steals plateau.
I spent much of the late 90s running down Bonds cards which was an easy thing to do in St. Louis at the time. Bonds was a huge villain around town and cards companies were pumping out plenty of Bonds cardboard. I was able to find all kinds of cool inserts and parallels and often could talk the shop owners down on the cost of the cards, or I would just dig them out of the cheapy bin. Either way, I landed a ton of his cards for a fraction of the price I would have paid other places. I am particularly proud of my Pacific Die-Cut collection I have of Bonds. Probably deserves its own post sometime.
2000 Pacific Aurora Styrotech Die Cut
Of course the icing on the cake to any modern player collection is owning a certified autograph of the player. Bonds has a ton of cool autographs out on the market and most can be had for less than $100 with a little bit of patience. Scan Ebay on any giving day and there are plenty of Bonds autographs available for sale right up against the $100 mark. However, they are almost all Buy It Nows. Wait a little bit until you see an auction of the card and you might land the card for considerably less depending on the issuing brand and print run. One of my simple favorites...
2002 Topps Barry Bonds Autograph
The 2002 Topps Bonds autograph has how many copies? I do not know, but its a lot and you can often find this card closer to $50 than $100. It's an on-card autograph too. If you just simply want to add a Bonds autograph to your collection, but your looking for value I would highly recommend trying to chase down a copy of this card. The 2002 Topps Ten autograph is another on-card Bonds autograph which can be had for a reasonable price.
Overall, the market for Bonds cards has turned south since the end of the sluggers career. There was a lot of drama and all sorts of garbage surrounding Bonds which helped drive his card prices lower. He still offers collectors lots of value and his cards have kind of found there niche in the market. If you rushed out and spent a bunch of money on Bonds cards you are not going to see a huge gain in value in the foreseeable future, but you are not going to lose money either.
On The Field-
Is Barry Bonds the greatest offensive player to have have stepped onto a baseball diamond? It's a legit question which drives hoards of people insane. Bonds is the best player I have seen with my own eyes, but I never had the chance to watch Babe Ruth. Here's the break down on Bonds.
JAWS rates Bonds as the greatest left-fielder of all-time. That's higher than Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, Manny Ramirez, Carl Yastrzemski, and Pete Rose. It's really not even that close. Bonds has a career WAR of 162.5 and Williams, in second, has a career WAR of 123. Just so you know, the Babe was at 163. Hmmm..
More Barry goodness. If you were to look at Bonds and Babe Ruth next to each other, the Bambino has a slightly higher WAR and also leads Bonds in OPS+ by a pretty healthy margin. However, there are plenty of areas were Bonds has outperformed Babe. Namely in defensive metrics and stolen bases. Here are a few categories where Bonds is the all-time leader or really close:
+Bonds won 7 National League MVPs. Most all-time
+Bases on Balls-1st
I am going to go ahead and stop there. You get the point. Babe Ruth ranks high on most of these lists too, but various other greats are ahead of him on these lists too. Bonds and Babe Ruth are consistently the two players who appear most frequently on these lists. Sadly, Bonds will likely not be seeing the inside of Cooperstown anytime soon unless he buys a ticket just like the rest of us. Here's a look at the final home run of Bonds career which is now the current home run record. Watch it once for the home run, watch it again to laugh at Matt Holliday.
Yes, its the same card again. I love the 1987 Fleer Glossy card.