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06/15/06 2:22 AM ET
Finley notches 300th career homer
41-year-old outfielder reaches milestone at former home
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- During a season of milestones for the San Francisco Giants, Steve Finley returned to his old Chase Field stomping grounds and added another on Wednesday night. The left-handed-swinging center fielder, who was part of a World Series championship Arizona Diamondbacks team five years ago, hit the 300th homer of his career, a game-opening, leadoff shot off Arizona right-hander Claudio Vargas as the Giants prevailed, 11-4. With it, Finley became the sixth player in Major League Baseball history to amass 300 homers and 300 steals (he has 316). Four of the other five played portions of their careers with the Giants -- Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, his late father Bobby, and Reggie Sanders, who did it as a member of the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Andre Dawson is the other. "It's great company," said Finley, who snapped an 0-for-17 slump coming into the game with a 3-for-5 evening. "It's great company to be in. I'm proud to be there. It's something that once I quit playing and look back on and really relish it. Even when the season is over. Right now it's in the middle of the season. It's something that's a relief to be over with. It means I had a long, consistent career." The 41-year-old Finley also joined Mays as the only two players in MLB history to have at least 300 homers, 300 steals, 425 doubles and 100 triples. Finley has 431 doubles and 120 triples. Bonds is the only player in history to reach the 500-500 club with 717 homers and 506 steals. Bonds hit No. 717 later in the game, a three-run blast to cap the Giants scoring off right-handed reliever Jose Valverde in the ninth inning. As far as milestones go, Moises Alou clouted his 300th homer on April 13 at San Francisco; Bonds passed Babe Ruth into second on the all-time home run list when he hit No. 715 on May 28, also at AT&T Park, and right-hander Jason Schmidt tied a 102-year-old franchise record set by Christy Mathewson when he whiffed 16 in a 2-1 complete-game victory over the Marlins on June 6 at the nearly seven-year-old park nestled on McCovey Cove. In what is fast becoming a Giants tradition of sorts, Finley was met in the middle of the clubhouse with a beer dousing from his fellow teammates, much like Schmidt endured eight days ago after setting the San Francisco era record for most strikeouts in a game by a Giants pitcher. "When he looks back on it, he's going to appreciate it a lot," Bonds said about Finley's dunking. "It's a really awesome moment." Finley has played for seven teams in his 18-year career, but his longest tenure was with the Diamondbacks from 1999 to the July 31, 2004, trading deadline when he was swapped to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his short Los Angeles tenure, Finley clinched the National League West title at Dodger Stadium with a grand slam against the Giants on the next-to-last day of the 2004 season. That winter, he shunned a free agent offer from the Giants and signed with the Angels. But after an injury-plagued 2005 season in Anaheim, Finley was traded to San Francisco for third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, who has since been released. Finley's last homer came on May 31, 33 at-bats ago and he now has only three on the season. He figured that his milestone homer would've come a long time ago. "I hit a few balls in San Francisco that I thought were going out, but they didn't quite make it," Finley said. "It would've been nice to do it in front of the fans at home, but this is the next best place, playing as long as I did here."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.