Atlanta Braves: What if Barry Bonds had been acquired in 1992?

Barry Bonds was nearly an Atlanta Brave. (Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images)
Barry Bonds was nearly an Atlanta Brave. (Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images) /

What if the Atlanta Braves would have acquired Barry Bonds before the 1992 season? How different would the 1990s have been for not just the Braves but also all of major league baseball?

A few years ago, former Tomahawk Take writer Josh Brown wrote about how close the Atlanta Braves were to acquiring Barry Bonds from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Check out his story to see who was going to be involved in the deal and how it fell through.

Disregard your feelings about Bonds, because there are plenty but it’s difficult not to daydream about Bonds in a Braves uniform and how that would have changed the Braves fortunes throughout the 1990s.

Most in baseball recognize just how impressive the Braves’ run in the 90s and early 2000s was, but the parting shot always seems to be the one World Series title.

Would Bonds have changed that?

I absolutely think he would have.

First off, Bonds was a free agent after the 1992 season, but don’t think for a second Ted Turner would have let him walk after trading for him.

Also, the argument also has been the Braves would not have signed Greg Maddux before the 1993 season if they would have had to pay Bonds.

Again, Turner never closed his checkbook when it came to making his Atlanta Braves into a contender.

Think about what the lineup could have looked like in 1992:

  • CF-Otis Nixon
  • LF-Barry Bonds
  • 3B-Terry Pendleton
  • RF-David Justice
  • 2B-Ron Gant
  • 1B-Brian Hunter
  • SS-Jeff Blauser
  • C-Damon Berryhill/Greg Olson

Of course statistics would have been different, but for the sake of this exercise, Bonds 1992 numbers were incredible:  he was the National League MVP, hitting hit 34 homers, scored 109 runs and walked 127 times for an on-base percentage of .427.

With a rotation of John Smoltz, Steve Avery, Charlie Liebrandt and Tom Glavine, that team doesn’t lose to the Blue Jays in the World Series.

Or look at the 1996 team, which had a three-run lead in the bottom of the eighth of Game 4. Oh, Jim Leyritz…

  • CF-Marquis Grissom
  • LF-Barry Bonds
  • 3B-Chipper Jones
  • 1B-Fred McGriff
  • C-Javy Lopez
  • RF-Ryan Klesko
  • SS-Jeff Blauser
  • 2B-Mark Lemke

Bonds hit 42 home runs, with 122 runs scored and 151 walks. Add that to a lineup of Chipper’s 30 homers, Klesko’s 34 homers and McGriff’s 28 homers and oh my goodness.

So let’s ask the subjective question: how many more World Series titles would the Braves have won?

The answer to me is at least two more: 1992 and 1996.

Those teams were darn near complete as they were, but adding one of the best players in the history of the game would have made them dominant.

We also don’t know how things would have changed in 1993 when the Braves had the best record in baseball or the same in 1997. But the argument certainly could be made they would have advanced past the NLCS.

Reliving the “almost” in sports can sometimes be difficult because it lets the mind wander.

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Adding Barry Bonds would have changed the view of the Braves run from “unprecedented and impressive” to perhaps “best-ever and historic”.