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08/05/07 4:46 AM ET
Bonds gives historic helmet to Hall
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- As promised, Giants slugger Barry Bonds presented the batting helmet he was wearing when he hit his 755th home run on Saturday night to a representative of the National Baseball Hall of Fame after the game. "He was a man of his word," said Jeff Idelson, the Hall of Fame vice president, who joined the chase on Tuesday night in Los Angeles and watched Bonds tie Hank Aaron for first place on Major League Baseball's all-time list with his second-inning, leadoff homer against Padres right-hander Clay Hensley at PETCO Park. Bonds took Idelson into a small office off the main locker room in the visitors' clubhouse and gave the prized possession to Idelson, who locked it up overnight in a vault the Padres keep for just such memorabilia. All the items that Bonds wore during the historic at bat were authenticated by MLB immediately after the game -- a 3-2 Giants 12-inning loss to the Padres. Idelson said he also received the Padres' lineup card from the game and would negotiate for one of the bases Bonds touched on his way around the diamond and into history. As far as Bonds is concerned, his part of the bargain is almost complete. He has also promised the Hall his helmet from record-setting homer No. 756, which he will attempt to hit sometime during the upcoming seven-game homestand, which begins against the Nationals at AT&T Park on Monday night. Bonds does not plan to play in the closing game of the Padres series on Sunday. "They just got my helmet," Bonds said. "They're also getting my helmet from the next one. And they will probably get my 756 uniform at some point, but not at the beginning. That I want to look at for just a little while." The Hall has the uniform Aaron wore when he hit his 715th homer on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to pass Babe Ruth into first place on the all-time list. But those items didn't arrive at Cooperstown, N.Y., until well after Aaron retired in 1976 and was inducted into the Hall along with Frank Robinson in 1982. Bonds met with Idelson in San Francisco for a 45-minute private discussion about the issue on June 26. At the time, he agreed to give the Hall his helmets and told Idelson to come to his house after he retires to view other items in his personal collection. Bonds has the complete uniform from the particular games in which he has smacked milestone homers ensconced in glass-enclosed cubicles at his Southern California home. They include 660 and 661 -- to tie and pass his godfather, Willie Mays, into third on the all-time list -- 700, and 714 and 715 to pass Ruth. He has a spot already open on the wall for the homer that pulls him ahead of Aaron and gives him the all-time lead. The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that isn't directly affiliated with Major League Baseball, although Commissioner Bud Selig is a member of its board of directors. Part of the Hall's charge is to safeguard the traditions, great moments and artifacts that make the sport as cherished as it is within the walls of its red-brick museum. There are 280 players, managers, umpires, owners, commissioners and front-office personnel enshrined in the Hall, including Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., who were just inducted last Sunday.
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.