Bonds passes Babe with 715 homers
Giants slugger now 40 away from Aaron's all-time mark
SAN FRANCISCO -- And now only the Hammer remains.Barry Bonds' long journey toward Major League Baseball's all-time home run mark became a race against one man Sunday as he sailed past Babe Ruth into second on the all-time list with the 715th of his 21-year career. Bonds, 41 years old, is now 40 behind the righty-swinging Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer, who is the all-time leader with 755. "It's a great honor, but Hank Aaron, to me, is the home run king and I won't disrespect that ever," Bonds said on a day when the Giants' 6-3 loss to the Rockies at AT&T Park provided only a minor subtext. "Babe Ruth has 714 home runs, but Hank has 755. Hank Aaron is the home run leader. I have a lot of respect for Babe Ruth. I have a lot of respect for what he did for the game of baseball. But I have to give the heads up to Hank Aaron because he is the home run king." Sunday's homer was Bonds' seventh of the season, making him the top left-handed home run hitter in MLB history. Aaron's 733 with the Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves is next up for Bonds, who will become the all-time National League leader when and if he passes that mark. Aaron hit his final 22 homers as the designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers when they still resided in the American League. Asked if he wanted to reach Aaron, Bonds said: "I'd like to win a World Series and be the all-time home run king. I'll take both, but I'll take the World Series first." Bonds passed the Babe with a two-run shot to center field in the fourth inning off Colorado right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim, coming after a leadoff walk to Steve Finley. The milestone homer, on a full-count pitch, landed halfway up the bleachers, 445 feet away, and was fumbled by a fan into the batting eye. The historic ball was retrieved by Andrew Morbitzer, a 38-year-old fan from San Francisco, who was waiting on line below the bleachers to purchase a beer. Morbitzer said he didn't even know Bonds was batting that inning. "As I was walking down, I heard the roar [of the crowd]," he said. "I looked up and saw everybody reaching into the air and I snagged it. And the brilliant men of the San Francisco Police Department got around me and took me away." It was Bonds' first homer off Kim, who became the 421st pitcher to allow at least one of Bonds' homers. Including a first-inning walk, Bonds was 0-for-9 against Kim with six walks going into the historic at-bat. Kim said afterward that his teammate, Sun-Woo Kim, had suggested giving up the milestone homer to take the pressure off the rest of the Colorado pitching staff. The Rockies were already leading, 6-0, at the time. "He said, 'Hey, B.K., it's just one home run, and we win,'" Byung-Hyun Kim said. "'All the [relief] pitchers have no pressure.' He owes me dinner, 10 times. He said, 'Oh, I didn't mean it.' Well, then 20 times." Kim, of course, is best known for allowing homers that lost Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series to the Yankees' Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius when the sidearmer was with the Diamondbacks. Now add Bonds. "My children, my grandchildren, will be like, 'Daddy, you're on the TV,'" Kim said about allowing the Bonds homer. "And I'll be like, 'OK.'"
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.