Baseball trailblazer Hank Aaron ranked on the all-time home run list for more than three decades before Barry Bonds eclipsed him in front of a sell-out crowd in San Francisco. The San Francisco Giants star spent the beginning of the new millennium shattering records, challenging long-established norms and redefining the meaning of the term “power hitter.”
Bonds would cement his name in the record books when he sent a fastball from Washington Nationals’ pitcher Mike Bacsik deep into the right-center field bleachers. It was Bonds’ 755th career homer—replacing Aaron on the all-time home run list.
But the accomplishment came with a dark cloud of steroid allegations against Bonds. As the quest for the home run title seemed like a foregone conclusion, then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig elected not to attend any of Bonds’ games. Aaron, who previously vowed to “never” reconsider his decision to skip out of festivities, congratulated Bonds over a video message that played on the scoreboard at AT&T Park.
“I move over and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement,” Aaron said. “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.”
Bonds was gracious towards Aaron after the game, saying the Hall of Famer’s message “meant the world to him.” But when asked about his record’s credibility due to PED allegations, Bonds was defiant.
“This record is not tainted at all, at all,” Bonds said. “Period. You guys can say whatever you want.”