THIS DAY IN SPORTS: A Bonds milestone, with Mays by the Bay

Presented by ZAMZOWS.

This Day In Sports…April 12, 2004, 20 years ago today:

San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds catches his godfather, Willie Mays, for the number three spot on baseball’s career home run list. The suspiciously bulked-up Bonds deposited a pitch out of what is now AT&T Park and into McCovey Cove on Opening Day for the 660th homer of his career. It came off Milwaukee’s Matt Kinney in a 7-5 win over the Brewers. And it was a no-doubter, a 442-foot three-run bomb with a splash-down.

Bonds had gone through the Giants’ first two road series of the season with one homer in Houston and none in San Diego, where he heard incessant booing. That was the way it had been ever since 2001, when he broke the single-season record with 73 home runs: jeers on the road and mostly cheers at home. ”It is great to be home,” Bonds said after the game. ”This is the best feeling right now, the icing on the cake. It was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.”

After Bonds crossed the plate, Mays walked onto the field and handed him a replica of the Olympic torch he received when he ran a leg in the 2002 Olympics torch run. It was laden with diamonds that said 660 and 661. Unlike many, the Say Hey Kid didn’t mind at all seeing Bonds match him on the all-time list. Bonds would pass Mays the following day and set his tainted sights on Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.  

Bonds could always count on Mays for a friendly face and warm handshake. His dad, Bobby Bonds, made his major league debut in rightfield alongside Mays in 1968, just before Barry reached his fourth birthday. The Say Hey Kid and the little kid became close, and Mays became Barry’s godfather. Willie always looked past Barry’s performance-enhancing transgressions. In the end, Bonds didn’t have the hold on the organization that Mays did. After Bonds passed Aaron in 2007, ending up with 762 career homers, the Giants elected not to re-sign him. And nobody else ever picked him up.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)


Bacon Boise
The James
Pool Scouts
Franz Witte Garden Center
Commercial Tire