Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson had slightly different skill sets, but had remarkably similar careers. So similar that when you chart the running total of their career WAR, their careers are almost indistinguishable.

Well, at least for the first 14 years or so. But then, around age 34, the two players diverge dramatically. Whereas Rickey’s production starts to level off, which you would completely expect from a player entering his mid 30s decline phase, Bond’s production accelerates fantastically upwards.

And what happened when Bonds was 34? Why, that was the season after the 1998 home run chase, when according to several accounts Bonds decided he was sick of being lost in the shadow of steroid-users like McGwire and Sosa and decided to start juicing on his own.

Of course, this is stuff we already knew, but it is amazing to see it represented so clearly in graphical form (h/t Fangraphs WAR Graph function):

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