This Day in Baseball History: May 30th, 1986

{Insert joke here}

On May 30, 1986:

Barry Bonds made his major-league debut.

Scratch that. If you look at most sites and even Baseball-Reference, they put Barry Bonds’ major-league debut as May 30th, but actually, it was just his first major-league start. He actually made a pinch-hit appearance on April 20th, rapping an RBI single.

Anyway, at the time of his debut, he was two months away from his 22nd birthday and was a top prospect. Originally drafted in 1982 by the Giants in the second round, Bonds could not work out an acceptable contract with the Giants and went to the University of Southern California. In 1984, he broke a College World Series record by getting a hit in 7 consecutive plate appearances. In 1985, he hit .368 with 23 HR and 68 RBI. Later that year, he was drafted sixth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and after signing quickly, he would be a player of the month in July for a minor-league affiliate. Bonds was promoted to AAA at the beginning of the next season, and with a .311 average and .537 SLG, he was promoted to the big leagues for his first start.

But on May 30th, it was a different Barry Bonds than you might remember. First, he led off, and he would lead off in 461 more games. Second, he played center field, and after playing all 110 games at center in 1986, he would only sparingly play there after. Third, he struck out 3 times, something he only did 34 times in his major-league career. He did, however, have a walk. It wasn’t a great debut for Bonds. He was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in the Pirates’ 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Though he came in 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting, he wasn’t too terribly impressive, but one could see the talent. He did have power (16 HR and 26 2B), speed (36 of 43 in steals), and a good eye (65 BB). His .223 average and 102 K’s (his only 100+ K season) weren’t too good, but his .258 BABIP was a bit low. It would only be a matter of time. It gives me more faith that Jordan Schafer can be good.

Trivia Time
Who became the first player to hit leadoff home runs in both games of a double-header?

Yesterday’s Answer –> William O. Douglas went from majority to dissenter between the two cases.


4 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: May 30th, 1986”

  1. Kelric Says:

    A complete guess, but… Rickey Henderson? It’s probably a much older player but that would involve trying to think of a better answer.

  2. Ian Says:

    Odd that Baseball Reference would have something like that wrong.

    I’m thinking I’ve heard this trivia question before, but I have no idea what the answer is. I’ll guess Don Buford.

  3. Kevin Says:

    I’m going to guess it was his Father Bobby Bonds.

  4. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    All good guesses. All wrong, though Kelric is close as he named the second person to do it.

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