Sunday, May 21, 2006

Barry Bonds Jr.

What’s wrong with this picture?

This is a shot from the cheap seats of Barry Bonds Jr. crossing the plate in front of umpire Tim McClelland in Phoenix after hitting his 642nd home run July 11, 2003, leading the San Francisco Giants in beating the Arizona Diamondbacks, 10-7.

I saw him play a couple of times with the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds in August 1991.

OK, so Bonds tied Babe Ruth’s second place record for career home runs at 714. Ruth set the standards and his records stood for decades.

Bonds now chases Hank Aaron’s 755 home run record. He shattered Mark McGwire's single season home run record of 70 in 1998, with 73 in 2001. His ability to hit cork, string and horse leather is not without its controversy. There are rumors about steroid use that he can’t seem to shake, but no one has proven he is using either…. Innocent until proven guilty.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

Nothing; I just wanted to show an old picture I never got published of another Giant who was also a great home run hitter. Willie Mays, the "Say Hey Kid," hit 660 home runs. Mays is Bonds’ godfather. Barry Bonds Sr. played with Mays and the San Francisco Giants.

This is a picture taken at the opening day of the Albuquerque Sports Stadium, during an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, March 28, 1969.

Mays played for several innings then pulled himself from the game and headed back to the hotel. He came upon a boy who was hit in the head by a foul ball that escaped the stadium. He stopped to lend his warm-up jacket, as a pillow, to the injured youth as he was initially treated.

Mays was considered a gentleman; Bonds is vilified. I am not a fan of Bonds like I was a fan of Mays. The game of baseball, like society, has changed. One knew then that ball players were not taking steroids, now one doesn’t know… Bonds is attacking history and tradition and has a good chance of surpassing Aaron’s record.

I wish Bonds well in his pursuits and hope that he is clean and his pursuers find that he is not using steroids.

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