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Bonds becomes new home run king
Barrys Bonds hits his 756th career home run.
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2007 15:36 GMT
 Barry Bonds celebrates his home run record [GALLO/GETTY]
 
Barry Bonds is America's new home run king.
 
The controversial slugger hit his 756th career homer No. 756 breaking the 33 year old record held by Hank Aaron.
 
Bonds connected with a fastball from Washington's Mike Bacsik, sending the ball high into the San Francisco night, 435 feet into the right-center field seats.
Later, Bonds refused to admit that the record was tainted by the rumours of steroid abuse.
 
"This record is not tainted at all. At all. You guys can say whatever you want," Bonds said.

The now former record holder had said from the outset he had no interest in being there whenever and wherever his mark was broken.

Despite his absence he did offer a taped message of congratulations that played on the stadium's scoreboard as the game paused for 10 minutes.

Great accomplishment

"It is a great accomplishment which required skill, longevity and determination," Aaron said.

"Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in
baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those
years.

"I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on
this historic achievement.

Best wishes: Barry Bonds' son Nikolai celebrates
as his father rounds the bases [GALLO/GETTY]  


"My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the
achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams," he said.

But such was his disinterest in the moment, it is believed that Aarons was asleep when his record fell.

"When I saw Hank Aaron that made everything," Bonds said.

"We've always loved him. He's always the home run king."

Finally

Bonds watched as the ball sailed over the fence then raised his arms before heading off to round the bases.


"I knew I hit it," Bonds said. "I knew I got it. I was like, phew, finally."

His 17 year old son Nikolai was bouncing on home plate as Dad rounded third.

After a long embrace, the rest of the family joined in, his mother, two daughters and wife.

And then there was baseball legend Willie Mays, who removed his cap and congratulated his godson.

Bonds saved his most poignant words for last, addressing his late father,
Bobby.

"My dad," he said, looking to the heavens. "Thank you."

Bonds got his wish of breaking the record at home, perhaps the only place where he knew the cheers would outnumber the jeers from those who strongly suspect him of steroid abuse.

Bad dream

Best wishes: Hank Aaron speaks on a recorded
message after Barry Bonds broke his his
record [GALLO/GETTY]
The unfortunate pitcher Bacsik received a footnote in history and autographed bat from Bonds for his part in the moment.

"I dreamed about it as a kid, but when I dreamed about it, I was the one hitting the home run and not giving it up," Bacsik said.

"I didn't really want to be part of history as a bad part, but I am," he said. "I'm OK with it."

A fan wearing a New York Mets jersey wound up with the historic ball,
valued at $400,000 to $500,000.

Matt Murphy of New York emerged from the stands with the souvenir and a bloodied face, and was whisked to a secure room.

A seven-time NL MVP, the 43-year-old Bonds also holds the single-season homer record of 73, breaking Mark McGwire's mark in 2001.

The promise of this big night was the main reason Giants owner Peter
Magowan compromised on tough contract negotiations to bring back his star left fielder for a 15th season in San Francisco, signing him to a $15.8 million, one-year deal.

Bonds' quest has slowed in recent years as his age and deteriorating knees diminished his pace.

He hit 258 home runs from 2000-04, but has only 53 since then.

Pedigree

Bonds was seemed destined for stardom from an early age.

The son of All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonds and the godson of one of the game's greatest players, Bonds spent his childhood years roaming the clubhouse at Candlestick Park, getting tips from Mays and other Giants.

In a matter of years, Bonds went from a wiry leadoff hitter with
Pittsburgh in 1986 to a bulked-up slugger.

That transformation is at the heart of his many doubters, who believe Bonds cheated to accomplish his feats and should not be considered the record-holder.

There are plenty of fans already hoping for the day that Bonds' total, whatever it ends up, is topped.

New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez may have the best chance, with his 500 home runs at age 32 far ahead of Bonds' pace.

Source:
Agencies
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