SAN FRANCISCO — During a ceremony Saturday to unveil a Barry Bonds plaque on the organization’s Wall of Fame, broadcaster Duane Kuiper read off a list of pitchers who got the best of Bonds. It was a short list.
Bonds did damage against just about everybody, just about everywhere. No team felt his wrath like the Padres, though, and Bruce Bochy was the manager during much of that reign of terror. Bonds hit 87 homers in 868 at-bats against San Diego, 22 more than he hit against any other team. The Padres intentionally walked him 77 times, which is second to the Dodgers, but the rate is not as out of whack as the home run rate. Bochy explained why on Saturday.
“There were probably times I should have walked him but when fans come to the ballgame they want to see their favorite player swing the bat,” Bochy said. “We tried to make pitches to him. We didn’t have a lot of success, but I wanted my guys to believe they could get him out.”
Bonds holds the Major League record with 688 intentional walks and he paced the league 12 times in 22 seasons. He drew so many intentional walks that rubber chickens became a staple at AT&T Park. In 2004, Bonds was intentionally walked 122 times but Bochy’s Padres only accounted for eight of those in 18 games. Bonds hit five homers off of them.
Bonds, in meeting with reporters after the ceremony, said the entertainment aspect was important to him, too. He noted that there was a reason why most of his milestone moments came in San Francisco.
“You have to be pretty good to do them at home,” he said. “I planned it that way. I wanted my family to see them. I didn’t want them to watch them on TV.”
Bonds said Bochy gave his home run chase an assist as his manager, too. The day he hit No. 755, Bochy threw Bonds 30 minutes of batting practice.