On May 28, 2006, San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds hits a 90-mph fastball from the Colorado Rockies’ Byung-Hyun Kim over the center-field fence for his 715th career home run to pass Babe Ruth for the second-most home runs in MLB history. “I knew it was definitely gone,” Bonds says afterward. “There was no doubt.” The Giants lose the game in San Francisco, 6-3.
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Bonds, who was 41, told reporters that passing Ruth was “a great honor” and that he had “a lot of respect for Babe Ruth and what he’s done.” On August 7, 2007, Bonds—who was dogged by allegations of performance-enhacing drug use—hit his 756th home run, passing Hank Aaron and becoming MLB’s greatest home run hitter. Bonds finished his career with 762 home runs.
Bonds, who retired after the 2007 season, has denied knowingly taking steroids and other banned substances.
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Teammates and opponents were awed by Bonds surpassing Ruth.
“Everybody was waiting for a moment like this,” San Francisco shortstop Omar Vizquel told reporters as Giants celebrated with Bonds with champagne in the clubhouse after the game. Colorado center fielder Ryan Spilborghs, who had been called up from the minors for the game, said he “had goosebumps” watching Bonds set the record.
Ten years after Bonds passed Hank Aaron, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated summed up baseball’s complicated relationship with Bonds, writing, “Here we are, 10 years later, and Bonds still has the record for homers and dingers, but he can’t enjoy the full authenticity that Ruth and Aaron had.”