Barry Bonds has a strong statistical case as the greatest hitter in baseball history. He holds all-time records for career home runs (762) and home runs in a season (73), and his seven MVP awards are unparalleled.

Satchel Paige is, effectively, somewhere between Paul Bunyan and Cy Young. Widely considered among the greatest pitchers ever, his stellar documented track record is outpaced only by the stories stats couldn’t tell, particularly as he spent most of his career in the Negro Leagues during MLB’s segregated era. 

Ahead of MLB’s Rickwood Field game, commemorating history in the world’s oldest professional baseball stadium, Bonds joined the MLB on FOX pregame show, where analyst Derek Jeter asked him what he would do against Paige, whose pro career started in the same Birmingham, Alabama ballpark.

“Me?” Bonds asked incredulously. 

“Gone! You done lost your mind, Jeter! Gone! Simple: gone!”

Paige began pitching in the late 1920s, and his official NLB tally is incredible: a 2.36 career ERA over 22 documented seasons. Negro Leagues statistics are incomplete, but Paige kept his own unofficial tallies. Among them: More than 2,000 wins, 250 shutouts and 50 no-hitters.

The Hall of Fame hurler pitched in the majors through his age-46 season, and even came out of retirement to make an appearance at 58 years old. In some situations during his barnstorming days, Paige used to famously have every defender behind him go into the dugout while he pitched. Bonds agreed that they wouldn’t be necessary in their mythical matchup.

“Take all of those people off the field, Satchel, I don’t care,” Bonds said. “Gone!”

Ken Griffey Jr., another of baseball’s greatest players, had a very different perspective on possibly facing Paige: “I’m drag bunting.”

Barry Bonds & Ken Griffey Jr. reflect on Rickwood Field, Negro Leagues

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