Bonds Breaks Hank’s Long Standing Home Run Record

Barry Bonds Breaks Hanks HR RecordsBy Carol-Ann Rudy

The career home run record now belongs to Barry Bonds. On Tuesday night, he hit a fastball thrown by Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals in the fifth inning of the game played in the AT&T Park. The ball soared into the center field bleachers, his twenty-second home run of the year, just left of the 421-foot marker.

It seems Bonds knew right away that he’d done it, throwing his arms into the air and running the bases to cheers and even tears from the crowd. Fireworks exploded and streamers fell. He hugged family and teammates. The tumultuous celebration brought the game to a standstill for twenty-two minutes. The Nationals, however, ended up rallying to win the game 8-6.

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A personal message from Henry Aaron, recorded about a month ago, was played on the scoreboard congratulating Bonds on his accomplishment. “I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.” He said that he’d been privileged to hold the record for thirty-three years and it had been his hope, then and now, that it would inspire other players to “chase their own dreams.” . . .

Bonds spoke after that, graciously thanking Aaron, his teammates, the Washington Nationals, his family, and fans. He expressed how important it was to receive the message from Aaron. Upon mentioning his dad, he teared up and couldn’t finish the sentence, instead raising his helmet to the sky, “Thank you, thank you for everything!”

About the controversy surrounding his achievement, he later said, “This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period.” Undoubtedly agreeing with him was his godfather, Willie Mays, a member of the Hall of Fame also present to congratulate him.

Commissioner Bud Selig was not present at the game, but MLB executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson were there in his place. Selig issued a statement, “While the issues which have swirled around this record will continue to work themselves toward resolution, today is a day for congratulations on a truly remarkable achievement.” He also spoke personally with Bonds after the game.

Matt Murphy of New York was the lucky, though bloody, retriever of the ball in the melee that followed and was escorted to a secure room by police.

Bonds is only the fifth player to hold this most revered individual record. The last was Henry Aaron, before him Babe Ruth in 1921, Roger Conner in 1895, and Harry Stovey in 1890. Click here for more on the history of the game: What’s next for Bonds? Well, there’s 2008—and more records to break! The Runs Batted In career record to name one…

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