Ol’ Dirty Bastard shows up in the strangest of places. Like when you’re trying to find a new statistic to evaluate the old, dirty bastard-ness of baseball players. That’s a place where he shows up.
Good thing we got the dudes at SabeanMetrics (tagline: When the Best of the Worst Combine) to resuscitate (bad choice of words?) the hip hop icon. They recently unveiled wODBPS — weighted Ol’ Dirty Bastard Plus Slugging. Apologies to Bobby Abreu, the AL champ in 2011, because the Carlos Lee photoshop just makes too much sense not to post.
Unfortunately the misers at SabeanMetrics won’t open up their books, so our attempt to replicate their work and create a career leader board will have to be spitballed. If we were to try to find our list of career wODBPS, we’ll have to define our old, dirty bastards of baseball. They’ll have to be old, and they’ll have to have nice OPS numbers relative to their league (OPS+). If they have a little… lawlessness built in, they’ll get extra credit. They’re supposed to be dirty, after all.
Do a search for players over forty (old) who have put in at least 360 PAs (or chambers) and then sort it by OPS+, you get an impressive rap sheet, er list of characters. Ted Williams tops the charts, but the Splendid Splinter was a fighter pilot. He scores low on the lawlessness factor. Moises Alou scores high, and did urinate on his hands famously, but did he do enough? Ty Cobb was one of the oldest, dirtiest, meanest and most lawless bastards of all time, but only managed 14th-best on this list.
But you know who’s second, and fourth, on the list? Barry Bonds. He appears twice in the top five league-adjusted sluggers over forty of all time. And he seems about as ornery and lawless as the namesake, so we’ll put his name forward as the wODBPS+ all-time champion.
In conclusion and in honor of a hip hop great, we submit the following.
A Barry Bonds – Ol’ Dirty Bastard Career Mashup
1986 He made his debut with 16 home runs, 36 stolen bases and snuck a case of forties with RZA in his grandma’s basement in Fort Greene.
1990 Scored his first 30/30 season with the Pirates, won his first MVP with 99% of the votes, and recorded All In Together Now with RZA and GZA under the name Force of the Imperial Master to general underground acclaim. Ho-hum.
1993 In the dirtiest year in the history of everything, he signed a mammoth contract with both the San Francisco Giants and Loud Records, led the league with 46 home runs, stole 29 bases, set career records in OBP (.458), SLG (.677), OPS (1.136), won his third MVP, changed hip-hop forever, and was convicted of second degree assault for an attempted robbery.
1994 Missed two months due to being shot in the stomach by another rapper, rehabbed on Dirt McGirt island with Wonder Woman, and still led the league in base on balls and came within one stolen base of his third 30/30 season.
1997 Helped record a double album that was the most commercially successful he was ever involved in. Won his seventh straight gold glove and silver slugger. Meh.
1998 Pledged to pay court-ordered child support to his wife for three of his 13 children, pled guilty to attempted assault of his wife, was shot twice in a home invasion, and then was arrested three times for separate but related crimes including attempted murder and shoplifting a pair of $50 shoes with $500 in his pocket. Perhaps because everyone was so scared of him, he led the league in intentional free passes for the seventh straight year. Slightly less dirty, he also led a dozen onlookers to lift a mustang and rescue a trapped four-year-old girl. To make up for it, he rushed onto stage the next night at the Grammies and dropped this bomb:
“Please calm down, the music and everything. It’s nice that I went and bought me an outfit today that costed a lot of money, you know what I mean? ‘Cause I figured that Wu-Tang was gonna win. I don’t know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children. You know what I mean? Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best, Okay? I want you all to know that this is ODB, and I love you all. Peace!”
Oh and he won his final gold glove, was walked with the bases loaded, got married again, bought his girlfriend a house, and watched jealously as a matinee idol named P Miggie stole his hardware for most home runs and best hip hop album.
1999 Started taking steroids and put up his best isolated slugging percentage at 34 years old between jail sentences and recording his second solo album. His hot single, “Got Your Money,” launched two major hip-hop careers, scared his team into saving up for the next contract negotiation, and prompted saberwizard Bill James to declare him the “most under-appreciated superstar” of his lifetime.
2000 Set a career high in home runs, began a seven-year string of leading the league in walks, escaped from his court-mandated drug treatment facility and spent one month as a fugitive in which he recorded multiple tracks, appeared on stage during a release party, and signed autographs for a crowd in front of a McDonalds. After asking the judge and jury if he “looked horny” in a poor tribute to a popular movie of the time (Austin Powers), he was sentenced to two-to-four years in jail.
2001 While in jail for drug possession and traffic offenses (the rocks wouldn’t disappear though he asked the cops to make them do so), he won the MVP, broke the major league record for snarls, smiling skyward kisses, golden earrings flashed, home runs and slugging percentage. Musical baseball historians debate if this was, in fact, the dirtiest year on record.
2002 Still in jail, he signed a five-year extension for $90 million, released an album made up mostly of old tracks and guest appearances, hit .370, won his second straight MVP, and took his team a win away from winning it all.
2003 Picked up from prison by Mariah Carey, he signed with a new label and then starred in a reality show while living under house arrest with his mother. He was allowed out of the house to play baseball, so he just up and won his third straight MVP. Also, he testified in front a grand jury that he took steroids by accident.
2004 Felled by leaked steroid testimony and a mix of cocaine and prescription opiates, he faced judgment from the general public and St. Peter at the same time. His old dirtiness, so long an asset, may turn out to be a hindrance in this phase.