Barry Bonds

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Barry Bonds : biography

July 24, 1964 –

Bonds did not homer again until April 13, when he hit two (736 and 737) in a 3 for 3 night that included 4 RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bonds splashed a pitch by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Franklin into McCovey Cove on April 18 for home run 738. Home runs number 739 and 740 came in back to back games on April 21 and April 22 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The hype surrounding Bonds’ pursuit of the home run record escalated on May 14. On this day, Sports Auction for Heritage (a Dallas-based auction house) offered US$1 million to the fan that caught Bonds’ record-breaking 756th-career home run. The million dollar offer was rescinded on June 11 out of concern of fan safety. Home run 748 came on Father’s Day, June 17, in the final game of a 3-game road series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, where Bonds had never previously played. With this homer, Fenway Park became the 36th major league ballpark in which Bonds had hit a home run. He hit a Tim Wakefield knuckleball just over the low fence into the Giant’s bullpen in right field. It was his first home run off his former Pittsburgh Pirate teammate, who became the 441st different pitcher to surrender a four-bagger to Bonds. The 750th career home run, hit on June 29, also came off a former teammate: Liván Hernández. The blast came in the 8th inning and at that point tied the game at 3–3.

On July 19, after a 21 at-bat hitless streak, Bonds hit 2 home runs, numbers 752 and 753, against the Chicago Cubs. He went 3–3 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and a walk on that day. The struggling last place Giants still lost the game 9–8. On July 27, Bonds hit home run 754 against Florida Marlins pitcher Rick VandenHurk. Bonds was then walked his next 4 at-bats in the game, but a 2-run shot helped the Giants win the game 12–10. It marked the first time since he had hit #747 that Bonds had homered in a game the Giants won. On August 4, Bonds hit a 382 foot (116 m) home run against Clay Hensley of the San Diego Padres for home run number 755, tying Hank Aaron’s all-time record. Bonds greeted his son, Nikolai, with an extended bear hug after crossing home plate. Bonds greeted his teammates and then his wife, Liz Watson, and daughter Aisha Lynn behind the backstop. Hensley was the 445th different pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds. Ironically, given the cloud of suspicion that surrounded Bonds, the tying home run was hit off a pitcher who’d been suspended by baseball in 2005 for steroid use. He was walked in his next at bat and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice.

On August 7 at 8:51 PM PDT, Bonds hit a 435 foot (133 m) home run, his 756th, off a pitch from Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals, breaking the all-time career home run record, formerly held by Hank Aaron. Coincidentally, Bacsik’s father had faced Aaron (as a pitcher for the Texas Rangers) after Aaron had hit his 755th home run. On August 23, 1976, Michael J. Bacsik held Aaron to a single and a fly out to right field. The younger Bacsik commented later, "If my dad had been gracious enough to let Hank Aaron hit a home run, we both would have given up 756." After hitting the home run, Bonds gave Bacsik an autographed bat.

The pitch, the seventh of the at-bat, was a 3–2 pitch which Bonds hit into the right-center field bleachers. The fan who ended up with the ball, 22-year-old Matt Murphy from Queens, New York (and a Mets fan), was promptly protected and escorted away from the mayhem by a group of San Francisco police officers. After Bonds finished his home run trot, a ten-minute delay followed, including a brief video by Aaron congratulating Bonds on breaking the record Aaron had held for 33 years, and expressing the hope that "the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams." Bonds made an impromptu emotional statement on the field, with Willie Mays, his godfather, at his side and thanked his teammates, family and his late father. Bonds sat out the rest of the game and was replaced in left field.