Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader and prodigal son, was honored Saturday by the franchise where he set most of his records. His No. 25 was retired by the San Francisco Giants at the stadium he made famous.
“The park means more to me than the number,’’ Bonds said to USA Today about AT&T Park, whose right field area McCovey Cove was a landing spot for 35 of his home runs. “Because I built this park. That’s all.
Willie Mays sent a message to Hall of Fame voters about Barry Bonds. pic.twitter.com/yv3PwsNInW
— ESPN (@espn) August 12, 2018
“When I walk into this ballpark, I know whose house it is,” Bonds added. “It is our house as a unified city, but I know who did that.”
In front of baseball legends Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and the iconic Willie Mays, Bonds became the 12th player in the franchise’s history to have his number retired.
By all numbers and metrics, Bonds is one of the game’s greatest players. He is a seven-time National League MVP, a 14-time NL all-star, a winner of eight Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers, and twice was the NL’s batting champion.
Bonds holds the single-season home run record (73 in 2001) and the all-time mark of 762, passing Hank Aaron’s 755. Bonds’ jersey was retired on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played the first seven seasons of his 21-year career from 1986 to 1992.
Bonds played in the Bay from 1993 until he retired in 2007. He selected the No. 25 when he signed in San Francisco to honor his father, Bobby, who wore it when he played for the Giants from 1968 to 1974.
Barring a change of heart by baseball writers, Bonds will be the only New York/San Francisco Giant to have his number retired while not being in the Baseball Hall of Fame. While he never tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, Bonds’ ties to steroid dealers and his obvious physical changes and sudden spike in power numbers made his numbers suspect and will likely keep him out of Cooperstown.
Mays, who has been a second father figure to Bonds especially since Bobby’s death in 2003, felt that Barry should not just be honored with a retired number. He feels he deserves the bust in Cooperstown.
“I wish [the Giants] would give him a statue across the little bridge over there,’’ Mays, who has his own statue in front of the entrance to AT&T Park, said. “Let him have it. Let him have the honor, because I might not be here forever. I might be gone.
“I want him to have his kids say, ‘That’s my daddy over there,’” he added. “Give somebody the honor who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. “On behalf of all of the people in San Francisco, and all over the country, vote him in.”