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Teammates awed by Bonds04/12/2004 9:39 PM ET
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- When they're gray and enfeebled, pushing their walkers -- probably trying to beat the other guy -- the Giants of 2004 can always tell their grandkids about some old-time ballplayer they watched make history. What was that guy's name anyway? Oh yeah. Bonds. Barry Bonds, one of San Francisco's and the world's best players, a Hall of Famer, a historic figure. Yep, they'll recall that at 2:46 p.m. Pacific Time on April 12 at SBC Park, they witnessed Bonds crush career homer No. 660 -- a three-run shot -- toward the blue sky beyond the right-field wall and make a dramatic kersplash into McCovey Cove. No doubt, the slugmeister will hit 661 and surpass Willie Mays in a matter of a few games, but Monday's Opening Day was also a memorable time, putting Bonds on the brink of passing a legend. New Giants pitcher Wayne Franklin, acquired recently from Milwaukee, always was on the opposing side of Bonds' rocket-shot launches, though he had never given up one himself to the fabled Giants outfielder. But there he was in the dugout Monday, stunned as Bonds ripped his homer off ex-teammate Matt Kinney in the fifth inning, going 3-0 in the count, fouling off a pitch, then ... wow. Smashed, crushed, bashed was the pitch that sailed into the water and into history. Maybe this one will pale when 661 flies, but Franklin was amazed. "I was nervous -- it stirred me, made me well up," said Franklin, who allowed a single and a run-scoring groundout while retiring the side in the seventh. "That was a very emotional moment for me. That's history right there. "That's the best thing I've seen in my career right there," said the reliever. "But I was shocked that they pitched to him after going 3-0. You don't want Barry to beat you, not the big gun. But they went for it." Veteran J.T. Snow has been Bonds' teammate for eight seasons and has seen the slugger climb up the all-time home run chart, hitting a record 73 in 2001 and then chase the Say Hey Kid -- and tie him. Next will come Babe Ruth. "It wasn't a cheapie," said Snow, who was on board after a single in the inning. "That's the surprising thing. They pitched to him with a two-run lead. On the bases, the Brewers didn't say anything. I think they were shocked like the rest of us." Snow looked beyond the day and the blow. "I've known Barry a long time and as players I think we'll appreciate it when we're out of the game, looking in the history books and tell people we had a chance to play with that Bonds guy." Giants relief pitcher Jim Brower was pumped as well after Bonds' homer. "It was special," he said. "It was a long time coming and really a great time for him. The right things opened up for him and he made it happen." Brower said he wasn't that surprised that Kinney went right after Bonds, for that's what pitching is all about. "They were being aggressive with him, trying to make a good pitch," said Brower. "That's all you can do -- challenge the hitters with your best."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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