Barry Bonds hit No. 756 over the right-center field wall Tuesday night, and hammered home the point: Like him or not, legitimate or not, he is baseball’s new home run king.
Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s storied record in the fifth inning, connecting on a 3-2 pitch from Washington’s Mike Bacsik. Three days earlier, Bonds tied the Hammer with a shot to left-center in San Diego.
Conspicuous by their absence were the commissioner and Aaron himself.
Bud Selig was on hand for the tying homer, deciding to put baseball history ahead of the steroid allegations that have plagued the San Francisco Giants slugger. On this night, he sent an emissary, Major League Baseball executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon.
As for Aaron, he said all along he had no interest in being there whenever and wherever his 33-year-old mark was broken. He was true to his word, but he did offer a taped message of congratulations.
Bonds’ once-rapid quest for the record had slowed in recent years as his age and balky knees diminished his pace. He hit 258 home runs from 2000-04, but has only 53 since then.