March 15 – Happy Birthday Bobby Bonds

bonds.jpgBobby Bonds came to the Yankees in a blockbuster trade that sent Yankee fan favorite, Bobby Murcer to the Giants in 1974. After a strong 1975 season in Pinstripes, Bobby was traded to the Angels for Ed Fiqueroa and Mickey Rivers. Bond’s most memorable contribution to baseball was his son Barry. Bonds died of Lung Cancer in August 2003.

I was 20-years-old when the Bonds for Murcer trade was made and can remember it as if it were yesterday. As a lifelong Yankee fan who had watched the Bomber dynasty crumble in the latter half of the sixties, Murcer was my favorite player at that time. He didn’t have superstar skills but he was the best player on some of the worst Yankee teams in the franchise’s hallowed history.

I started watching baseball in 1960 as a six-year-old and back then, Yankee fans took for granted that every October we’d be able to watch our Bronx Bombers play in the World Series. And that was the case right up until 1965. Then, within a matter of just a few years, instead of rooting for guys like Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, Howard and Skowron to win a pennant, I found myself actually getting some satisfaction when players with names like Tepedino, Repoz, Whitaker, Amaro and Kenney could win just enough to keep my team out of the AL basement.

Murcer, Mel Stottlemyre, and a new kid named Munson were pretty much the only bright spots for us Yankee fans during that bleak period and then “The Boss” showed up in the Bronx. After putting together and heading a group of investors that purchased the team from CBS in January of 1973, George Steinbrenner began looking to make huge changes to the roster almost immediately, convinced he could deal his team back into the World Series.

He therefore was ready to jump at the opportunity to acquire Bonds from the SF Giants for Murcer. Baseball pundits at the time thought a lot more of Bonds’ skills than Murcer’s and they were right. Bonds was a genuine five-tool player who always seemed just on the verge of super stardom. Murcer on the other hand, earned his keep by playing hard every second he was on the field. Plus Bobby loved being a Yankee and always used to say that the saddest day of his life was the day the Yankees swapped him for Bonds.

As it turned out, Steinbrenner was right about this one but not because Bonds ended up leading New York back to the Fall Classic. Instead, after just one pretty good year in pinstripes, the Yanks swapped him for Fiqueroa and Rivers who immediately became two critical cogs in the team’s drive to the 1976 World Series.

This former Yankee third baseman, this much more recent Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman also celebrate their birthday on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1975 NYY 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
14 Yrs 1849 8090 7043 1258 1886 302 66 332 1024 461 914 1757 .268 .353 .471 .824
SFG (7 yrs) 1014 4610 4047 765 1106 188 42 186 552 263 500 1016 .273 .356 .478 .834
CAL (2 yrs) 257 1106 970 151 256 33 12 47 169 71 115 231 .264 .340 .468 .808
STL (1 yr) 86 270 231 37 47 5 3 5 24 15 33 74 .203 .305 .316 .621
TEX (1 yr) 130 555 475 85 126 15 4 29 82 37 69 110 .265 .356 .497 .853
CHC (1 yr) 45 190 163 26 35 7 1 6 19 5 24 44 .215 .323 .380 .703
CLE (1 yr) 146 631 538 93 148 24 1 25 85 34 74 135 .275 .367 .463 .830
NYY (1 yr) 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
CHW (1 yr) 26 102 90 8 25 4 0 2 8 6 10 10 .278 .347 .389 .735
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

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