San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared Wednesday Barry Bonds Day in the City by the Bay, following the Giants slugger’s hitting his 756th home run Tuesday night.
The new champ, 43, beat Hank Aaron’s 1974 all-time record of 755 home runs in Major League Baseball.
Bonds broke the record in front of a 43,000-strong home crowd that included his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays, by smashing an 84-mph pitch from the Washington Nationals’ Mike Bacsik. The shot soared high through the night right into the deepest part of the ballpark, the Associated Press reports.
With a long, satisfied stare, Bonds watched as the ball sailed over the fence and disappeared into the scramble in the first few rows. Then he raised both arms over his head like a championship prizefighter.
His fists clenched, he took off.
“I knew I hit it,” Bonds said. “I knew I got it. I was like, phew, finally.”
His 17-year-old batboy son, Nikolai, was already bouncing on home plate as Dad rounded third and ran the final 90 feet to make it official. After a long embrace, the rest of the family joined in: his mother, two daughters and wife.
Then the party really got started: fireworks, streamers, banners and a taped message of congratulation from Hank Aaron that played on the stadium’s video board during the 10-minute in-game tribute.
“This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period,” Bonds said, referring to allegations that the new home-run king’s achievement has been overshadowed by claims he has used steroids.
The left-handed Bonds has never tested positive for drug use, and denies having done so knowingly.
Still, rumors have persisted since his home run tally took off after he turned 35, moving past the legendary Babe Ruth into second place in May last year with his 715th career home run.