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A Grand Moment for Bonds

Baseball: Giant outfielder passes Robinson and takes over fourth on career list with 587th home run, a drive that goes 482 feet.

June 06, 2002|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Everybody was awestruck with Barry Bonds' grand slam off Qualcomm Stadium's big scoreboard, except the slugger himself.

Bonds' home run, estimated at 482 feet, moved him ahead of Frank Robinson and into sole possession of fourth place on the career home run list with 587 and led the San Francisco Giants to a 12-2 victory over the staggering San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

The high-arching homer in the third inning hit the bottom left side of the scoreboard 29 rows beyond the right-field wall.

Manager Dusty Baker called it both "monumental" and "a monster." Hitting coach Gene Clines compared it with some of the eye-popping shots he saw teammate Willie Stargell hit with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bonds' reaction?

"It just has to go over the fence. That's all that matters," he said.

It went over the fence, all right. With the exception of Clines, nobody in the Giants' clubhouse could recall seeing a longer homer.

"He killed that ball," Clines said, who scoffed at the estimate of 482 feet.

"It seems like it was 501," Giant outfielder Reggie Sanders said. "That was an incredible shot."

In the 15 seasons that homers have been measured here, only Mark McGwire has hit one farther, a 490-foot line drive into the second deck in left-center on July 20, 1998. That homer was announced then as 458 feet but has been revised. The seat that McGwire's homer hit is painted white with a red circle in the middle.

Bonds' homer was just as impressive.

Bonds, whose next stop is Yankee Stadium and its short right-field porch on Friday night, hit the first pitch from rookie Dennis Tankersley. He took a few steps while watching it sail away, then began his home run trot.

Bonds was unimpressed with the distance, although he said he was told he once hit one farther off Robb Nen, the Giants' closer who once pitched for Florida.

"I marvel at wins," Bonds said. "Mark McGwire is the only one who ever put me in awe, as far as he hit the ball. He hit balls a lot farther than I do. [Willie] McCovey did it too, when I was a little kid."

Longtime observers recall McCovey hitting a long home run in San Diego in the early 1970s, but no distance was available.

Bonds' 11th grand slam gave the Giants a 4-1 lead. It was his 20th homer of the season, tying him with Chicago's Sammy Sosa for the major league lead.

"It was a big day, especially to do it on a grand slam, that's pretty awesome, especially that monumental of a home run," Baker said.

Tankersley (1-2) allowed a double to Giant pitcher Ryan Jensen with two out in the third, walked Tom Goodwin and hit Rich Aurilia to bring up Bonds.

"I think I watched it longer than Barry did," Jensen said.

"I don't know if I've seen a longer home run in all the games I've seen," said Padre Manager Bruce Bochy, whose team has lost seven in a row. "What's unfortunate is how he even got up there--two outs, nobody on with the pitcher up."

Bonds was tied with Robinson since hitting No. 586 Sunday against Colorado. Next on the homer list is Bonds' godfather, Willie Mays, who is third with 660.



Home Run List

San Francisco's Barry Bonds moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time home run list with No. 587 on Wednesday against San Diego. A look at the top six:

Player No.

1. Hank Aaron...755

2. Babe Ruth...714

3. Willie Mays...660

4. BARRY BONDS...587

5. Frank Robinson...586

6. Mark McGwire...583

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