A parent can't pick their favorite child. A child can't pick their favorite parent. The same can be said for a Giants fan trying to choose their favorite Barry Bonds season.
Was it hitting 73 home runs to break the single-season record? What about his 756th home run to become the all-time leader? Or batting .370 with less than 50 strikeouts? Or his 40-40 season? And don't forget his first year in San Francisco where he won the 1993 NL MVP.
The list goes on and on. For many of those record-breaking years, Ron Wotus, who first joined the Giants' coaching staff in 1998, had a front-row view. On Wednesday night, the third base coach tried to pick his favorite Bonds season.
"Obviously, what really sticks in your mind is the home run chase," Wotus said on KNBR. "I mean, I can't tell you how many nights the majestic home runs that he's passing [Willie] Mays and [Harmon] Killebrew and Babe Ruth. The greatest in the game, you just never forget."
Bonds passed Killebrew (573) and Mays (660) during the 2004 season, and Ruth (714) two years later in 2006. His first real home run chase was in 2001 when he set the single-season record with 73 long balls. But the year after, might have been just as impressive.
How do you top the most home runs ever in a single season? When you're Bonds, you hit a career-high .370 with a 1.381 OPS, 46 home runs, 110 RBI, 31 doubles, and 117 runs scored. Pitchers feared him so much that Bonds walked 198 times -- 49 more than his 149 hits -- and he was intentionally walked 68 times while only striking out 47 times, at 37 years old.
"I think when he hit .370 it was just as impressive though because he walked 200 times and he got two pitches to hit a game," Wotus said. "And when he got a pitch to hit, he put it in play and got a hit."
Despite hitting 24 less home runs in 2002, Bonds' 11.8 bWAR was only 0.1 less than the year before, which were the two highest of his career.
No matter how absurd Bonds' 2002 season was, there's always one part of his game that Wotus will never forget: the home runs. The coach uses the perfect word to describe each ball that soared into McCovey Cove.
"Those are amazing things, but I think certainly the home runs will stay with you forever," Wotus said. "They were such majestic moments."