No asterisk for Bonds—he doesn’t need to stand out

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-118538974020118.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘Barry Bonds is shy of tying Hank Aaron’s 755 record by two home runs. ‘);

I’ve been putting this off for some time, but I can’t procrastinate any longer. The time has finally arrived. Any sports writer worth his weight in newsprint has probably already, or will soon, write a column about Barry Bonds. Here is mine.

Unless every pitcher in Major League Baseball agrees to intentionally walk him the remainder of his career, it’s a given he’s going to break the all-time Major League home run record. It’s possible he may even surpass Hank Aaron sometime in the next few days.

Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth as the all-time homerun leader April 8, 1974, when he hit No. 715, surpassing Ruth’s decades-long record of 714. Aaron finished with 755. Bonds, with 753 at press time, is two shy of tying Aaron’s record.

That fact is upsetting to many baseball fans because of Bond’s alleged steroid use. In my mind, there’s no doubt he’s guilty of being juiced. Whether intentional or unintentional, he’s admitted to using the cream. Did it help him hit more homeruns than any other player in history? Who really knows? The baseball purists are calling for the proverbial asterisk next to his name in the record books. I say why bother?

Bonds doesn’t deserve the extra attention that would eventually draw to his name. Someday in the future, he will no longer be at the top of the career homerun list. Just as Aaron passed Ruth, and now Bonds will pass Aaron, someday someone will eventually pass Bonds—maybe not in my lifetime, but someday it will happen. In my opinion, if the asterisk were to be placed next to his name on the all-time list, it would only serve as an extra attention-grabber. Anyone doing any type of research, or even just taking a casual glance at the list, would invariably end up seeing that asterisk and, as human nature goes, would end up reading more about Bonds and possibly ignoring the other names on that list.

That would be a huge injustice to Aaron, Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and, yes, even Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. I say put his name on the list, exactly like all of the others, use the same type of font and size, and leave off the asterisk. That way, he won’t unnecessarily stand out from the others.

from the July 25-31, 2007, issue

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