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ASU Alum Barry Bonds Joins The Elite
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 04/17/2001
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Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
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April 17, 2001

AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - Barry Bonds became the 17th major leaguer to hit 500 home runs with a drive into San Francisco Bay on Tuesday night. After Bonds hit No. 499 on Sunday against Milwaukee, the San Francisco Giants returned home to Pacific Bell Park to face the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers.

With the Giants down 2-1, Bonds hit a two-run homer off Terry Adams in the eighth inning.

The ball splashed into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field fence. Bonds rounded the bases and jumped with both feet on home plate before embracing his father, former major leaguer Bobby Bonds.

The left-field fence opened up and former Giants Willie Mays and McCovey - also members of the 500 club - were whisked by a golf cart to a ceremony at home plate.

"First of all, I'd like to thank my parents for having me," Bonds said. Mays, Bonds' godfather, hit 660 homers, third on the career list behind Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). McCovey is 11th with 521.

The crowd cheered deafeningly for every Bonds' at-bat, waved orange rally towels passed out before the game, and chanted "Barry! Barry!"

Those in the outfield bleachers and along the top of the right-field wall would rise in anticipation of each Bonds' appearance. The walkway outside the wall - edging McCovey Cove - was packed with fans hoping to snag No. 500. The cove was filled with boats, and even a man in a wetsuit floating on a surfboard.

Bonds struck out in his first at-bat. In the third inning, his shot to left field was grabbed by Gary Sheffield just in front of the wall. Bonds is the first player to reach 500 homers since Mark McGwire did it in 1999.

The 36-year-outfielder was the eighth quickest to hit 500, reaching it in 7,501 at-bats. McGwire did it the fastest, in 5,487 at-bats. Bonds, a three-time MVP, has hit 324 home runs since coming to San Francisco as a free agent before the 1993 season. He hit 176 with Pittsburgh.

The nine-time All Star had started this season 0-for-21 before homering in four straight games. He homered in four straight games once before, last June 3-6.

Bonds hit No. 499 in the fourth inning Sunday off David Weathers in the Brewers' brand-new Miller Park. Bonds has hit homers in 24 major league ballparks.

Bonds played for the Sun Devils under head coach Jim Brock from 1983-1985, posting a career .347 batting average in his three years in Tempe. His 45 career home runs still rank as the third most in school history. His 23 home runs in 1985 rank as the third most in a single-season at Arizona State. Bonds is the second Sun Devil to join the elite 500 Home Run Club. Former Sun Devil Reggie Jackson (1966) played one year under former ASU heach coach Bobby Winkles and hit 16 home runs that year.

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