Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs and struck out 93 times in 2001. He struck out 1.27 times for every home homer he hit. Bonds' average time between homers was 472 days.
Bonds set a new record with his 7th consecutive season with at least 30 home runs while Mike Schmidt had 6 seasons in between 30 home runs. The previous record was 5 seasons by Stan Musial. Both men also had more than 100 RBIs in each of their last years.
Bonds' teammate Jeff Bagwell finished second with 70 home runs. Tim Salmon, Tony Gwynn, and Ken Boyer followed with 66, 65, and 64 home runs respectively.
Bonds' teammate Matt Williams won the MVP award after hitting.443 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. The San Francisco Giants finished first in the NL West with a record of 91-71. The Arizona Diamondbacks were second with 86 wins.
Bonds finished first in the league in home runs (73) and total bases (283). He also ranked first in hits (230), average per game (0.5), at bats (840), and on-base percentage (.462).
Barry Bonds set the single-season home run record in 2001 with 73, and he now leads the all-time MLB career home run list with 762. He is widely regarded as one of the best hitters of all time. In 2007, Baseball Reference ranked him number 1 on their list of the 100 Greatest Players of All Time.
Bonds' record has been criticized because it includes games played before 1920, when baseball's rules allowed for pitches from a leg-side angle, and because it does not include an entire season. However, several players have tried to break the record and have failed; Mark McGwire only managed to hit 70 during his record-breaking year.
Bonds' record was officially recognized by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
From 2001 through 2004, Bonds' bat-handling talent was unrivaled by any player in baseball history. Bonds hit 30+ home runs in each of his first twelve seasons with the Giants, 40+ in eight of those seasons, and a career-high 73 in 2001. He finished in the top five of the MVP voting all but one year from 1989 to 1999, finishing first twice (1993, '99).
Bonds' record-breaking season of 2007 came up short of Hank Aaron's mark by seven homers, but it was still a remarkable performance. The previous year, he had only four home runs -- all in April -- and now he was on his way to breaking the record. By the end of August, he had 58, which at the time was a new record. He fell just four games short of Aaron's mark and has never been closer than three games again since then.
Bonds' final season saw him play in 152 games and hit 69 homers. That average number of homers per game is a new record. The previous record was 68, which George Sisler achieved in 1914.
Bonds' 756 career home runs are already more than the 694 of Aaron and his record is expected to stand for many years to come.
It's impossible to predict when or if Bonds' record will be broken. During the 2001 MLB season, Bonds hit 73 home runs. Pitchers throughout the sport averaged 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings this season. Pitchers struck out 5.9 batters per nine innings when Bonds began his career in 1986.
Bonds is one of only four men who have hit more than 50 home runs in a single season: Babe Ruth (57 in 1927), Jim Thorpe (55 in 1920), and Mike Schmidt (54 in 1983). It's possible that one of these men could break the record before Bonds does. For example, if Ruth's record were to be officially recognized today, it would be held by Greg Vaughn of the San Diego Padres (30 homers).
Bonds has now reached base via hit, walk, or error in every game he has played this year. This is called "hitting for average". It's very rare for someone to do this over a whole season. The last player to accomplish this feat was Ted Williams in 1941.
If you include batting averages on balls in play, then Williams and Bonds are equal at.462 in 1941 and 2001 respectively. However, because walks can be dangerous, we should probably just focus on hits and errors as measures of skill. In other words, if you want to know how good of a hitter someone is, look at how many times they get on base successfully.
Barry Bonds blasted three home runs in 49 at-bats against Randy Johnson, a left-handed power pitcher. I tweeted the other night, "Would love to watch Aroldis Chapman facing off against 2001 Barry Bonds." On the Baseball Today podcast, a reader asked about the top pitcher-hitter matchups to look out for in the coming years. He named Chapman vs. Bonds and Jose Fernandez vs. Giancarlo Stanton as three match-ups that should be interesting to follow.
Chapman would have been the obvious choice for this matchup if he had played in 2001. But he debuted in 2006 so it's someone else entirely. Still, it's worth watching because these two pitchers have the best stuff in baseball. They're both plus-plus heaters who can touch 100 miles per hour with their fastballs. And while Chapman tends to focus more on his fastball, Johnson used a variety of pitches including a slider, curveball, and changeup. You can imagine how much damage they could do with such an array of weapons.
Here are the stats: Johnson was amazing in 2001, when he won 21 games despite losing half of his starts due to injury. He went 14-3 with a 1.97 ERA during that season. Bonds hit.289 with 27 homers during his only year in San Francisco. It wasn't exactly his greatest season, but he did make an impression by hitting three balls over 400 feet during his time there.