© Gregory Fisher | 2017 Jul 30
There have been few phenomenons in the history of professional sports as captivating as Barry Bonds making his climb up the all-time home run leaderboard. His journey to the top of that list turned the San Francisco Giants into must-see TV every night. You never knew when Bonds might launch a fastball into orbit.
His march towards baseball immortality, while incredible, was mired in controversy due in large part to his success in the Steroid Era, and many consider his records to be tainted. One of the many who subscribe to that school of thought is former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who watched over the league for 22 years, and had a metaphorical front-row seat to Bonds’ historic career.
Selig was a guest on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday to discuss his book, “For the Good of the Game”, and said that he considers Hank Aaron to be the true Home Run King, among many other things, but his comments on Bonds and Aaron in particular stood out.
“Well, I’ve never really answered that, but I will say this to you,” Selig said. “In my mind, even though Bonds holds the record, and I’ve said records are records, I think you know how I feel about Henry Aaron.”
Does he believe Aaron is the true Home Run King?
“Yes,” Selig said.
Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs throughout his illustrious 22-year career, and hit an MLB record 73 home runs in 2001. Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs in 23 seasons, just seven less than Bonds. While Bonds admitted to using steroids, saying that his personal trainer misled him into believing he was taking flax seed oil and arthritis cream, players were not tested for steroids until 2003, ostensibly making them perfectly legal to use.
This debate between Bonds and Aaron for the title as the one true Home Run King has waged on ever since Bonds broke his record in 2007. Hell, Marc Ecko, a fashion designer who purchased Bonds’ record-breaking ball in an auction, branded it with an asterisk before being sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
When asked about his responsibility to honor Bonds breaking the record back in 2007, Selig told Dan Patrick: “It didn’t feel good at all. I know I had to go, and you know that Hank Aaron and I have been really close friends for 62 years now. In fact, I saw him in Atlanta last week and we sat and talked about some of this stuff, as we always do. How did it feel? Not very good.”
Selig was pressed by Patrick about his thoughts on Bonds or Rodger Clemens being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but refused to discuss his thoughts, instead opting to leave those thoughts and decisions to the voters.
The former commissioner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, while the historically great players who thrived in the Steroid Era still await an unlikely enshrinement.
Watch the whole interview with Bud Selig on the Dan Patrick Show below.