Bonds belts No. 748, first at Fenway
Wakefield becomes slugger's 441st homer victim
BOSTON -- Barry Bonds began the weekend by expressing surprise at the depth of Fenway Park's right-field dimensions. Then he clobbered a ball Friday that barely hooked outside the right-field foul pole.By Sunday, Bonds regained his bearings. The Giants' cleanup hitter crossed off fresh items on his personal checklist by belting his 748th career home run, leaving him seven behind all-time leader Hank Aaron. With his drive to right off Boston starter Tim Wakefield leading off the sixth inning, Bonds made Fenway the 36th ballpark where he has gone deep. Coincidentally, Aaron also homered once at Fenway, when he served mostly as a designated hitter toward the end of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers, then an American League club. Asked if he felt he had become part of Fenway's rich history, Bonds replied, "It's just nice to be able to play in all the ballparks." He cited the Metrodome in Minnesota and Comerica Park in Detroit as two he has missed, but added, "I know I'm not retiring. So my chance may come." Wakefield, Bonds' teammate in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the 441st pitcher to allow a homer to him, extending his Major League record. "When it left the bat, I thought it was a popup," said Wakefield, whose 1-0 knuckleball to Bonds became an arching fly ball that kept carrying until it crossed the barrier to the left of the 380-foot marker. "I turned around and saw J.D. [Drew] just keep going back further and further and further ... He's hit a lot of them, so you've got to tip your cap to him." Bonds reciprocated Wakefield's respect. "I think my age got me slower so I could time Wakefield's knuckler better," Bonds jokingly said of Wakefield, who had held him hitless in eight at-bats entering Sunday. "He's a tough pitcher. His ball was moving all over the place." Bonds' pursuit of Aaron had decelerated considerably until recently. He had homered only once in 77 at-bats until connecting off Toronto's Josh Towers last Monday. Only 12 at-bats separated Sunday's homer from that one.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.