In his 1981 song, “Talkin’ Baseball,” Terry Cashman crooned that, “Bobby Bonds can play for everyone.”

That wasn’t hyperbole, and it wasn’t just a tip to Bonds’ immense talent — as in any team would be lucky to have him.

While that latter sentiment was true, at least through most of his career, the song said every … not any.

As in — Bobby Bonds just might play for every team.

Flip over Bonds’ 1982 Topps baseball card, and you get the definite impression things were headed that way …

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After his original team, the San Francisco Giants, traded him to the New York Yankees in exchange for Bobby Murcer in October of 1974, Bonds went on to play for seven different teams in the span of seven calendar years — that’s eight-in-eight if you include his farewell 1974 season by the Bay.

And there were even more transactions, as Bonds signed a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers right at the beginning of the 1981 season but spent the first two months in the minors before the Chicago Cubs purchased his contract.

Bonds then spent the rest of that summer in Cubbies Blue, which is where we find him on the front of that 1982 Topps card.

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All in all, Bonds looks pretty happy to be at the ballpark, waiting in the sunshine to take his hacks in the cage.

Of course, that strike-torn summer was a strange one and wreaked havoc all across the game.

For Bonds, his own late start and The Strike meant he made just 190 plate appearances, hitting .215 with six home runs and 19 RBI. Twenty-four walks boosted his on-base percentage to .323, though, and perhaps gave fans a hint at what was in store for them when young Barry Bonds reached the majors.

That showing wasn’t enough to keep Bobby and the Cubs together, though, and Chicago released the slugger/speedster in October.

And there he sat, on the sidelines of the game, until the next May, when the New York Yankees signed him.

Bonds had turned in an All-Star season for the Yanks back in 1975 and was none too happy when they traded him to the California Angels that fall, but he was going to give it another go in the pinstripes.

Alas, the 36-year-old got off to a slow start at Triple-A Columbus, hitting just .179 with a couple of homers in 101 trips to the plate. It was hardly surprising given that he hadn’t played in nearly eight months and with all the MLB mileage he had on his frame, but those facts were cold comfort, at best.

Less than a month after their return engagement began, the Yankees ended it by releasing bonds on June 21.

And that was the end of the road for Bobby Bonds as a professional player — he wouldn’t play for every team in the game, after all.

But, in the end, he suited up for eight different franchises and became the most prolific 30-30 man the game had ever seen, topping 30 homers and stolen bases in a season five times — matched, eventually, by Barry.

And, thanks to that last hurrah with the Yanks, that 1982 Topps Bonds card stands as a sunny, smiling career-capper for a complex man whose unique talents may not have been fully appreciated until long after his playing days were done.


Hobby Wow!

Bobby Bonds retired as just the second player ever, after Willie Mays, to accumulate both 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases in his career. Five other players subsequently joined the club, and there are some pretty cool pieces surrounding these standouts:

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That’s a lithograph signed by the first four members of the club — Mays, Bonds, Andre Dawson, and Barry Bonds.

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