Earlier this week, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds breaking baseball’s all-time home run record.
Thursday marks another Bonds anniversary of significance. Fifteen years ago, he broke Willie McCovey’s record for most intentional walks in a season by drawing his 46th (intentional walks have been documented since 1955).
Intentional walks may be boring, but they were noteworthy for Bonds.
Bonds finished the season with 68. He’d draw 61 in 2003 and then an amazing 120 in 2004.
Over that three-season span, he totaled 249. Only four players have had at least that many intentional walks in a career -- Albert Pujols with 306, Hank Aaron with 293, McCovey with 260 and Vladimir Guerrero with 250.
Bonds has the top three and five of the top seven seasons for intentional walks.
Bonds’ intentional walk feats include drawing one with the bases loaded against the Diamondbacks and manager Buck Showalter in 1998. There has been only one since then -- by Josh Hamilton against the Rays in 2008.
It’s safe to say that Bonds’ intentional walk mark is one of those single-season records that may never be broken. The most by anyone since his 120 is 44 by Albert Pujols in 2009. Last year’s leader was Bryce Harper with 20. The current 2017 leaders are Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb with 12. They're not catching Bonds anytime soon.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated to reflect the accurate 2017 intentional walk leaders.