On June 22nd , 1976 Hank Aaron connected off Tigers southpaw Dave Roberts for his 752nd career homerun in a 10 - 4 loss. 31 years 28 days later Barry Bonds became the second player to reach HR # 752 , also in a losing effort .
While I didnt make it to the game in Milwaukee back then , didnt quite have my drivers license yet , I was able to make the game at Wrigley today . After having played Barry to hit the opposite way on Tuesday by staying on Waveland ,( he did hit one right at me ....just a hundred feet short ) I decided to give right field a shot and fight the crowds on Sheffield.
Not really a crowd . 40 maybe 50 fans were on Sheffield , very few with gloves. Most were playing down the line looking through the knothole , so I positioned myself in deep right about a hundred feet off the line. There was an unusual amount of fans lining the back row of the bleachers , cutting down on some of my sightlines used to track balls headed for the street . Some regular Ballhawks , Mark and Wes were also in that crowd inside and my plan was to follow them when and if Barry hit one my way. And hit it my way he did.
I heard the crack of the bat and the moans/cheers of the fans and immediately saw Wes heading for the foul line . I scrambled through the crowd on the street in that general direction. Running down the middle of the avenue , I picked up the flight of the ball on its way down ......this was going to be toooo easy I thought. A can of corn ! I put my glove up to catch it , but the ball never made it . Hitting what I thought was someones bare hands I had no idea where the ball went . At that point I expected a pileup of some sort . Once the ball hits the ground its a free-for-all ( I will not bring up Sammy's # 62 again) Whoops just did ( Sorry Moe )
I looked up and there it was , an unbelievable , fortuitous rebound.......it had actually hit this guys bicep ( leaving a wicked bruise ) and bounced staight up in the air. Five maybe ten feet. And into my glove it fell. Like I said , tooooo easy
For the next three hours , in between Barry's at bats , I had the pleasure of repeating this story about 100 times. Kids wanting to touch the ball , fans wanting to have their picture taken with it (I thought everyone hated Barry ? ) and 5 or 6 newspaper reporters and tv crews.
Yes , they were using specialy marked baseballs to pitch to Barry , stamped with numbers and tagged with an invisible mark of some sort to prevent fraudulant claims to this and other Bonds homeruns.