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Baseball Analysis  John Holway

Barry Bonds -


By John B Holway

/// Note: The following material was censored from the pages of sabr-l. Those who were not allowed to read it there may read it below.///

By the great heavenly stars, when Barry Bonds blasted home run #71 into the twinkling skies over San Francisco Bay, did he set off the greatest astrologic upset of the millennium?

You bet your sweet ephemeris he did.

The ghosts of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Jimmie must have looked down and shaken their heads in surprise.

For Barry was born July 24 1964, one of the worst days of the year to be born if you want to grow up to hit home runs. That makes him a Leo, and Leos had won only ten home run crowns out of more than 250, going all the way back to 1876. He wasn’t even supposed to win the championship, let alone break Mark McGwire’s unbreakable record.

John B Holway is author of “The Baseball Astrologer and Other Weird Tales,” published by Total Sports, 2000.

McGwire -- now there’s a man who chose his birthday carefully. Mark was born Oct 1 1963. He’s a Libra like Mantle, Foxx, Mike Schmidt, Chuck Klein, Juan Gonzalez, Ed Mathews, and others, who have won 41 crowns, or four times as many as Leos.

To add to the surprise, another Leo, Alex Rodriquez, won the home run title in the Amrican League. What’s going on up there?

Geminis are the worst home run hitters of all, with only seven titles in 126 years.

Just a coincidence? Mathematicians tell me the odds against that – 41 on the high side to seven on the low side – are more than one million to one.

You don’t have to believe in astrology. All you have to do is count. Here is the lineup, through 2001:

Sign Some Representitive Champs
Libra 41 McGwire 4*, Schmidt 4, MANTLE 4, FOXX 4, Klein 4, J Gonzalez 2, MATHEWS 2
Sagittarius 30 Stovey 5, Kingman 3, Foster 2, DiMAGGIO 2, C Williams 2, Nicholson 2,

L Walker, M Williams, DOBY, DELAHANTY

Pisces 29 OTT 6, BAKER 3, Rice 3, Murphy 2, Stargell 2, Allen 2, Baker 2, Strawberry, Murray, S Thompson
Aquarius 28 RUTH 12, AARON 4, BANKS 2, Pipp 2, Jordan 2, BENCH, Dw Evans
Scorpio 23 KINER 7, Griffey Jr 4, McGriff 2, Freeman 2, Sosa, Bichette
Average 21
Cancer 19 KILLEBREW 6, H Davis 4, Canseco, Armas, Dawson, Connor
Virgo 18 T WILLIAMS 4, Fielder 2, Belle, F ROBINSON, CEPEDA, SNIDER, LAJOIE, Sandberg, G Kelly
Taurus 18 JACKSON 4, MAYS 4, WILSON 4, HORNSBY 2, CRAWFORD 2, Brouthers 2
Aries 14 Cravath 6
Capricorn 14 MIZE 4, GREENBERG 4, McCOVEY 3, K Kelly 3, Schulte 2, Mitchell, J Collins
Leo 12 Bonds 2, Howard 2, A Rodriquez, Glaus, Nettles, Yastrzmeski
Gemini 7 GEHRIG 3, Galarraga, Da Evans

 Total 253

Odds: one million:1

*Does not include McGwire’s 58 in 1998, which was split between two leagues.

Base stealers, baseball’s speed kings, are even more astounding – 34 Capricorn champs, only three Cancers. The odds: ten million to one. Ricky Henderson, a Capricorn, won 12 titles alone. Max Carey, another Capricorn, won ten.

This year’s NL champion, Jimmy Rollins, joins Ty Cobb, Minnie Minoso, Craig Biggio and other Sagittarians in third place. However, Ichiro, the A.L. king, got no help from his stars; he’s a Libra, which is about average, along with Maury Wills and Tony Womack.

Ichiro also won the batting title with no heavenly help. Libras are slightly below average, although Rod Carew (7), Foxx (2), and Mantle are Libras.

Larry Walker, who won his third NL title, may have gotten a push from his stars. He joins fellow Sagitarians Ty Cobb (12), DiMaggio (2), Bill Buckner, Al Kaline, and Harvey Kuenn, who are in second place.

However, they are far behind the leading Taurians, such as Tony Gwynn (8), Rogers Hornsby (7), George Brett (3), Mays, Don Mattingly, and other.

I divided pitchers into finesse pitchers, ERA champs, and power pitchers, the strikeout kings. Randy Johnson, who won his third ERA title, is a Virgo, which is about average. Libra Freddy Garcia, the AL champ, is just above average.

Johnson is truer to his stars as a strikeout champ. He won his seventh title, and fellow Virgo Hideo Nomo won his second to move their sign into third place, with 20 crowns. They might overtake Nolan Ryan’s Aquarians – 22 titles -- but they are far behind Scorpios Walter Johnson , Bob Feller, Tom Seaver, Curt Schilling, and others, who have won 50 in all.

On the bottom of the pile are Cancers with only ten. The odds on this distribution are calculated at 200,000 to one.

Beginning as a skeptic, I got interested in birthdays about 25 years ago. To my own amazement, I found numbers like this that just couldn’t be explained by the law of averages.

So I eagerly began looking into other categories – writers, actors, astronauts, Presidents, even scientists. They all produced numbers that just couldn’t be explained by chance.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung was an avid believer in astrology. “Like vintage years of wine,” he wrote, “we have the qualities of the year and the season in which we are born.”

Scientists scoff that a tiny star, millions of miles away, cannot influence the birth of a baby on earth. I doubt it too, as do some astrologers. Perhaps the stars are merely a giant cosmic clock, which don’t cause events to happen any more than your bedside alarm clock causes traffic jams; they both merely mark the time when the events are likely to occur.

But that begs the question: If the stars don’t cause these phenomena, then WHAT DOES?

The number of days per sign, and the number of births per sign, are more or less equal, so that is not an explanation. Certainly, Libra babies don’t exceed Geminis by four-to-one.

Astrologers say Leo is the sign for actors, but I found that Aries lead in Academy awards by a wide margin, which shows that astrologers may be wrong.

Pisces is the leading sign for American astronauts. Beginning with Yuri Gagarin, it is the leading sign for Soviet cosmonauts too.

I once bet Janet Guthrie, the first woman Indianapolis 500 race driver, that she was a Pisces, because she had wanted to be an astronaut. “I am,” she said, “but it’s also the leading sign for race drivers. Look it up.” I did, and she was right.

Libras like Marina Navritalova are the overwhelming queens of tennis, wining 45 titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, going back to the 1880s. Selena Williams is Libra. We have never had a female Aries winner and only one Aquarian.

Tennis writer Tim Joyce also found the same results independently. Before the 1999 U.S. Open, he told me, “Keep an eye on [seventh-seeded] Selena Williams.” She defeated Pat Hingis in an all-Libra final.

Another autumn sign, Scorpio, predominates among men.

In the 1880s I tried to make a bet with a group of 187 skeptical American scientists: They would pay me ten dollars for every future Libra female champ, and I would pay them ten bucks for every Aries. They all turned me down. Too bad. I wouldn’t have had to pay out anything, and I would have collected $90 from each of them.

As a Scorpio, I was anxious to check the old wives’ tale that Scorpios make the best lovers, so I wrote to sex pioneers Masters and Johnson, asking what their data showed. “We don’t lend ourselves to that kind of research,” they sniffed haughtily. A pity. Science will be the poorer for it.

Author Forest Fickling studied thousands of birth and death data and found that Taurus men live longest – about seven years more than the most short-lived sign, which I won’t tell you so as not to scare you to death. Gemini women are the longest-lived on average.

Among other categories, I found:

Category First Second
Nobel and Pulitzer-winning writers Libra Taurus
Nobel-winners, chemistry Virgo Aries
Nobel-winners, physics Sagittarius Aquarius
Nobel-winners, medicine Gemini Virgo
Heavyweight champs Capricorn* Cancer
Members of Congress Aquarius Pisces

*Mohammad Ali, George Foreman, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Pat Patterson et al.

All the above data are mathematically well outside the realm of coincidence.

There have not been enough presidential elections (51) to be statistically valid, but mid-winter Aquarians like Lincoln, Reagan, and Franklin Roosevelt do very well. The warm-weather signs do worst, yet, oddly, in the last three elections, only spring and summer kids have been nominated – both Bushes, Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, and Al Gore.

The last Aries to win was Tom Jefferson back in 1804. Since then 13 Aries, such as Henry Clay and Tom Dewey, have been nominated, and all 13 have lost. Number 13 was Gore.

The 1970s Oakland A’s dynasty had an astrologer on the payroll. Pitching great Wes Ferrell followed his horoscope daily. Will we see more of this in the future? Will scouts carry an ephemeris in their hip pockets as well as a stock watch?

What of other sports such as boxing, football, auto racing? The most amazing numbers I’ve gotten are in tennis, even more amazing that baseball stolen base kings.

This is only one of the many aspects of what I call baseball’s “invisible game.” I investigated and documented many reports – from called shot homers to zen, from lucky batboys to witches and witch doctors – and wrote about them in my book, The Baseball Astrologer and Other Weird Tales. It’s a world so far virtually untouched by any other historian, but one that may increasingly become a factor in the new millennium.

Will the stars show the same patterns for Negro League and Japanese players? I've checked them out, and the results will be in a future column.

For updated charts on the birthdays of batting champs, base stealing kings, and top pitchers, send $5.00 to John Holway, 5511 Callander Dr., Springfield VA 22151

For an autographed copy of my book, send a check for $20 to John Holway, 5511 Callander Dr., Springfield VA 22151

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