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Barry Bonds `The Best Player of This Year`

Posted December. 28, 2001 09:12,   


My grandfather told me, "The day when a dog gives up learning new tricks, it`s a day when the dog dies." Bonds said, "If I am too satisfied now, I might as well retire."

The 37-year-old Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, who has been regarded as the most exemplary player with the vigorous efforts to improve his ability, expressed his feeling yesterday after being voted as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Receiving 33 first-place votes and 136 points from sportswriters and broadcasters,

Bonds won the honor by edging three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (127 points) who overcame his cancer with indefatigable spirit. Bonds became the 24th baseball player to win the AP award.

Bonds opened `his second prime time`, establishing new ML records in three categories such as single-season home runs (73), base-on-balls (177), and slugging percentage (0.863). In particular, in spite of the intensive avoidance of white pitchers as shown his base-on-balls record, Bonds smashed Mark McGwire`s 3-year-old home run record (70).

And he moved from 17th place to sixth on the career list with 567 homers, 6 homers behind Harmon Killebrew. Moreover, he broke a pair of Babe Ruth`s records, 170 walks and 0.847 slugging percentage, established in 1920 and 1923.

Bonds also recorded 0.515 on-base percentage to rewrite a ML history, which is the ML best since 1957 and the National League best since John McGrow (0.547).

Bonds is well known to the Korean fans, because he got his 71st and 72nd homers from Park Chan-Ho.

Despite all the records, Bonds said his most meaningful homer of 2001 was his 68th, because it came as he mourned the death of friend and former bodyguard Franklin Bradley. Bonds wept on the bench after the homer.

American League MVP and Rookie of The Year Suzuki Ichiro (Seattle Mariners) and the first four-consecutive major title winner Tiger Woods tied for third place.

Tiger Woods, who won three AP awards in 1997, 1999, and 2000 to tie with Michael Jordan, failed to win his fourth award.

Besides these, left-hand pitcher Randy Johnson, who led the Arizona Diamondbacks to the World Series champion as `one-two punch` with Curt Schilling, and `NBA`s scoring machine` Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) were placed in the 5th and the 6th respectively.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com