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08/08/07 4:42 AM ET
Batting helmet for No. 756 Hall-bound
Signed game balls, lineups from Bonds' feat also expected
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- As promised, Giants slugger Barry Bonds presented the batting helmet he was wearing when he hit his 756th home run on Tuesday night to a representative of the National Baseball Hall of Fame after the game, giving the museum a twin to the one that was procured from Bonds after he smacked No. 755 on Saturday night in San Diego. "Barry wanted these items in Cooperstown," said Jeff Idelson, the Hall of Fame vice president, who joined the chase a week ago in Los Angeles and watched Bonds tie and pass Hank Aaron to take the lead on Major League Baseball's all-time list. "He wanted the helmets there so fans could have direct contact with the homers that tied and passed Hank." Idelson got the helmet and the lineup card from Saturday's game in PETCO Park in which Bonds tied Aaron with his second-inning leadoff homer against Padres right-hander Clay Hensley. But he's receiving a treasure trove of stuff from Tuesday night's affair when Bonds' fifth-inning, one-out homer against Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik gave him the all-time lead. Aside from the helmet, Idelson said he was given the ball-strike counter used by home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck and a game ball signed by the four umpires. Prior to Wednesday night's game, Idelson said he's expecting to receive game balls signed by the respective managers and starting lineups of each team, a base that Bonds touched as he trotted into history, one of the two lineup cards and the score sheet filled out by Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper. Idelson said Bonds was waiting for him in the Giants' clubhouse to present the helmet after the game, an 8-6 Giants' loss. "Where were you?" Bonds asked him with a smile. Both helmets were personally inscribed by Bonds in silver ink with the date and the number of the home run, Idelson said. "Barry was genuinely happy to give these items to the Hall of Fame," Idelson said. "He thanked me three times in the clubhouse." 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 that item didn't arrive at Cooperstown, N.Y., until well after Aaron retired in 1976 and went 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 June 26. At the time, Bonds 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 into second. He has a spot already open on the wall for Tuesday night's homer that pulled him ahead of Aaron in the all-time home run standings. 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 inducted last month.
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.