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Home / Sports / Barry Bonds earns Hall of Fame, says Willie Mays

Barry Bonds earns Hall of Fame, says Willie Mays

SAN FRANCISCO – The plan was for Willie Mays to simply sit on the field with other Giants during the Barry Bonds jersey retirement ceremony. And even after Mays had asked to say a few words, they brought him a handheld microphone so he could stay there.

But the Say Hey Kid, even at 87, still has reach. He insisted on marching to the podium. "If I say something," Mays said to the crowd with that still boyish high voice, "I want everyone to hear it."

When he was done, it was clear that Mays wanted to hear his message the way to Cooperstown.

"On behalf of all the people in San Francisco and across the country, pick this guy in," he said, candidly standing for the inclusion of bonds in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Former San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds claps during his uniform number retirement ceremony ahead of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT & T Park in San Francisco, California, on Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Jose Carlos Fajardo / Bay Area Newsgroup)

Mays continued to talk, but the rest of his sentence was drowned out by 41,209 fans in AT & T Park.

The jubilation, and the many who followed, made it clear on Saturday night that this ballpark remains the refuge of Bonds, his paradise of unconditional love. It's a place where he remains so immune to the steroid controversy that the election of the Hall of Fame would have been unanimous during the 75-minute ceremony that delayed the start of the Giants' game against Pittsburgh.

Damn, that night Bonds even hugged a Dodger. Eric Gagne, a former gasoline launcher who launched one of Bonds' 762 home runs, made a surprise appearance as he came to the court to greet a thug he called "the best player ever".

The style of "This is your life" expression led to Tears of Bonds choking several times while talking about the reason why he wore No. 25 at all. Bonds chose this number shortly after signing with the Giants in 1993 because his father, Bobby Bonds, put up No. 25 for San Francisco from 1968-74, often while playing alongside Mays.

Bonds sometimes looked skyward and sometimes decided to speak directly to Bobby. "Dad," he said, fighting his feelings, "much of my day is missing without you."

Bobby Bonds was tough on Barry when he grew up in Riverside and later in San Carlos. If Barry made two home races in a Little League game, Bobby would sniff, "Good, meet two more tomorrow."

Bond fell silent for a few moments while trying to tell a deathbed interview with Bobby, who died in 2003 at the age of 57.

"Dad, why were you so hard on me," the son asked.

"Because I loved you so much," the father answered. "And I'm so proud of you, I knew that as long as you were going to get my approval, nothing would stop you from being the best you could be."

Now No. 25 will never be worn again. Bonds becomes the player of the 11th Giants, who is so honored, Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Monte Irvin, Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda (30), Gaylord Perry (36) and Willie McCovey (44). The Giants, like all other Major League teams, also drew Jackie Robinson (42).

The former San Francisco Giants former Willie Mays player confirms the crowd during his Patron Barry Bonds uniform number retirement ceremony before their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT & T Park in San Francisco, Calif. On Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Jose Carlos Fajardo / News Group Bay Area)

His tribute on Saturday included a video montage reminiscent of a bygone era in San Francisco when Bond's 'Home Run' from 1993-2007 exploited enthusiastic fans. At McCovey Cove, there were 35 floating buoys for the landing of the so-called "splash hits" of the bonds. (The rest of the Giants has been 43 since the opening of the park in 2000).

Mike Krukov, who teamed up with broadcast partner Duane Kuiper as the Master of Ceremonies, recalled how these At-Bat fans linked everything from ballparks to sports bars to living room recliners.

"Suddenly Bonds is up and we stop," Krukov said. "The room would be quiet and the volume would turn up and we would go and bust the manager who accompanied him.

"But in that magical moment he made 586 times in a Giants uniform, with the nice momentum built for the average and for the strength, he would beat him out of the ballpark – he had the biggest trot And we would leave our places and high-five and embrace strangers, he has united us all, us, the most diverse city in the world. "

Bonds won seven MVP Awards. Nobody else has more than three. He was a 14-time All-Star and a 12-time Silver Slugger and eight-time Gold Glove winner.

Bonds scored a season record in 2001 with 73 long balls. He surpassed Hank Aaron's career on August 4, 2007 with 755.

In those intoxicating days, bonds were booed in the street and often pilloried by the press, especially as speculation about his use of performance-enhancing drugs surged. He never came close to the Hall of Fame in his six years on the poll, with 56.4 percent last year. (It takes 75 percent to be recorded.)

Fans hold number 25 high when Barry Bonds, the former San Francisco Giants player, was presented on Saturday, August 11, 2018, before the match against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the AT & T Park in San Francisco, California becomes . (Jose Carlos Fajardo / News Group Bay Area)

Apart from Mays, the only other guest speaker to mention Cooperstown on Saturday was former pitcher Kirk Rüter. "Woody," as the fan favorite was called, spent 10 seasons as Bond's teammate and also took part in his "Wall of Fame" tribute a year ago.

"The next time I see him … I want to include the letters" YARD "," said Rueter.

Bonds laughed and clapped enthusiastically.

The ceremony also had its light moments. They played several recorded fortune-telling news from sports stars on the video board, but Buhs drowned tribute from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (Like Bond, attends Brady Serra high school in San Mateo).

Bay Area icons like Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Stephen Curry, and Steve Kerr received a more enthusiastic response. "There was nothing more exciting than getting on your plate," said Montana.

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