No. 756 was the kind of home run we've come to expect from Barry Bonds. Not just any home run, it soared into the night sky and cleared the wall in the deepest part of center field at AT&T Park, leaving no doubt the Major League record had a new owner.
08/08/2007 10:07 AM ET
Bonds hit the historic homer in the fifth inning off Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik in front of 43,154 home fans and the Giants stopped the game for 10 minutes to celebrate.
Included in the festivities was a taped message from Hank Aaron that was played on the scoreboard.
"It meant everything," Bonds told the San Francisco Chronicle of Aaron's message. "It meant absolutely everything. ... We all have a lot of respect for him from everyone in the game. Right now, everything's just hitting me so fast I'm lost for words again. It was absolutely the best, absolutely the best."
Manager Bruce Bochy had Bonds take the field in the top of the sixth inning and then removed him from the game so he could get another ovation from the crowd.
Bochy said the reaction Bonds received "is something we'll all remember. I actually saw some tears in a lot of people's eyes close to the dugout. That's how happy they were for him."
Bonds claimed that the record-breaking homer was easier than the one that tied Aaron.
"Seven fifty-five was the hardest," he said. "Every time I'm training in the winter time, running the hill, it's always harder to get to the top. It's not that hard to come down from the hill."
Bacsik doesn't mind being forever linked to 756: Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik earned a place in history by giving up Barry Bonds' record-breaking home run. Just like Al Downing and Henry Aaron, Bacsik will see video of himself on the mound each time Bonds' blast is shown on replay.
"I didn't want to give up the home run," Bacsik told the San Jose Mercury News. "But I'm lucky enough to be part of a very special moment in sports history."
Both Bacsik and Bonds played just five innings in the game. Bacsik went to the Giants clubhouse to congratulate Bonds.
"I told him he was the best I'd ever faced and probably the best of all-time," said Bacsik, who entered the game with a 10-11 career record. "I told him I wanted to go after him and challenge him if the situation presented itself. There was nobody on base and one out. I wanted to go after him."
Bonds gave Bacsik an autographed bat.
"He wrote on there, 'To Mike, God bless, Barry Bonds,'" Bacsik said. "I didn't ask for it. He gave it to me. He just said, 'You're going to be a good pitcher, and I'm going to enjoy watching you on TV.' Giving it up to Barry Bonds is nothing to be ashamed of."
Bacsik retreated to the dugout after allowing the home run.
"I honestly didn't even watch it land," Bacsik said. "I watched Barry's reaction, and by the sound of the bat and by Barry's reaction, I knew it.
"I dreamed about this as a kid. Unfortunately, when I dreamed about it, I thought I'd be the one hitting the home run."
Bacsik understands his place in history and showed off impressive knowledge of Downing.
"Me and Al Downing I guess will be linked for a long time," Bacsik said. "Hopefully, I can win 20 games and be an All-Star like him someday."
MLBPA congratulations: Don Fehr, who became executive director of the MLBPA in Bonds' rookie season, added his perspective on the accomplishment.
"For more than two decades, Barry Bonds has been one of the Game's most dominant players," Fehr said. "This is truly one of those moments that all fans will remember."
Rockies players applaud Bonds: Rockies relief pitcher Matt Herges couldn't have been happier for his former teammate.
Herges, a teammate of Barry Bonds in San Francisco from 2003-05, said setting the record was "huge" and that he was "ecstatic" for Bonds.
Matt Holliday, who leads the Rockies with 21 home runs this season, also recognized the significance of the achievement.
"It's an amazing feat and probably the most important record in sports," Holliday told the Denver Post. "He's been great for a long time. That's why records fall -- greatness over a long period of time."
Sweeney happy to be a part of history: Giants teammate Mark Sweeney knows he's a part of history. Being on the same team as Barry Bonds the year he set the career home-run record is not something he will ever forget.
"When we look back on it 20 years from now, we're going to thank God we were here to witness it," teammate Mark Sweeney told the Associated Press. "It's hard to hit home runs. It's easier for him. But still, when everyone in the stands wants you to hit it, including your teammates, it's been hard for him. I think it was a relief to get that much closer."
Moyer considers himself a contributor to history: As Barry Bonds approached the Major League home run record, pitchers had many different reactions.
Many just didn't want to be the guy on the hill when the big homer was hit. But the Phillies' Jamie Moyer had a different take: He's a part of history.
By giving up Bonds homers 11, 28, 65, 120 and 121, Moyer did his part to help the Giants slugger reach the top, he figures.
"That's my contribution," Moyer told MLB.com. "It's amazing to see the numbers that people have created over time [in baseball]. At some point in time, I've been a teammate of some of these guys, and it's even cooler to be able to be a part of what they've accomplished. Sometimes I've been a provider of that, too."
Meanwhile, Moyer says that what Bonds has been able to accomplish is certainly noteworthy. "It's a milestone," he said. "That's a lot of home runs, a lot of at-bats. When you start looking at numbers and careers, and that's quite impressive."
-- Red Line Editorial