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Bonds hits No. 73 to extend record

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Posted: Sunday October 07, 2001 4:40 PM
Updated: Monday October 08, 2001 2:40 PM
  Barry Bonds Barry Bonds moved up 10 spots on the all-time home runs list during the 2001 season. AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- On the final day of the season, Barry Bonds made an odd number a remarkable one -- 73.

Bonds hit his 73rd home run Sunday, further extending the major league record he broke two days earlier.

In what could be his last game with the San Francisco Giants, Bonds connected in the first inning off Los Angeles' Dennis Springer. The Giants won the game 2-1.

"This was a great, great way to end it, with a victory and a home run. You can't ask for anything better," Bonds said after the game. "I never thought I could do it."

Bonds, who broke Mark McGwire's record by slugging two homers on Friday night, homered in his first at-bat Sunday after taking a day off on Saturday. He singled in the third, popped out in the sixth and flied out in the eighth.

Instead of feeling the pressure in the final few games of the season, Bonds finished the year in style -- he hit four homers in his final three games.

Bonds shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, almost in disbelief at what he has accomplished this season, as he took the field for the top of the second inning.

Barry Relaxed
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Barry Bonds doesn't want to imagine what might happen to his home run record. Start
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When McGwire set his record of 70 homers in 1998, a mark then thought unbreakable, he hit two homers on the final day of the season and five in his final three games.

Bonds' homer, onto the arcade above the right-field fence, was the 567th of his career -- leaving him six behind Harmon Killebrew for sixth all-time. Bonds started the season 17th on the career list.

The ball was grabbed by Patrick Hayashi, 36, from nearby Santa Clara County, after a scrum among fans on the arcade.

Bonds' 73rd home run also wrapped up another major league record for the Giants' left fielder. He finished the season with a slugging percentage of .863, easily surpassing the record of .847 set by Babe Ruth in 1920.

And it also secured another record for Bonds -- he homered every 6.52 at-bats this season, breaking the record of a homer every 7.27 at-bats set by McGwire in 1998.

The solo homer came on a full-count knuckleball from Springer. It gave Bonds a career-high 137 RBIs.

Fans accustomed to Bonds' heroics this season gave him a standing ovation, and he stepped out of the dugout for a quick curtain call.

Before his second at-bat, fans chanted, "Five more years!" -- a reference to comments by Bonds' agent that he will seek a five-year deal after this season.

Even though Bonds had one of the greatest offensive seasons in major league history, he may not be back in San Francisco next year. He is eligible for free agency after nine seasons with the Giants, who may not be able to afford his demands.

Bonds, 37, earned $10.3 million this season in the last year of a three-year, $22.9 million contract extension. His agent, Scott Boras, is expected to seek a contract worth perhaps $20 million a year starting in 2002.

Bonds would like to return to the Giants, the team of his godfather -- Willie Mays -- and one of the teams his father, Bobby Bonds, played for. He made that clear Friday night in a ceremony following his record-breaking homer.

High-yield Bonds
Some of the milestones reached by Barry Bonds this season:

Hit 73 home runs to break Mark McGwire's single-season record set in 1998.

Finished with an .863 slugging percentage, surpassing the record of .847 set by Babe Ruth in 1920.

Walked 177 times, breaking Ruth's record of 170 set in 1923.

Homered every 6.52 at-bats this season, breaking the record of a homer every 7.27 at-bats set by McGwire.

Finished with a .515 on-base percentage, best in the majors since 1957, and tops in the NL since John McGraw's mark of .547 in 1900.

Hit his 500th homer on April 17.

Set career high with 137 RBIs. 

"I don't know what my future is," he said. "I love San Francisco and I love you fans. My family knows, God knows, I'm proud to wear this uniform."

But the Giants have a projected payroll of $66 million next season, and signing Bonds would mean committing nearly a third of that amount to one player. Also, the Giants may not be prepared to offer the five-year deal Boras apparently is seeking.

"It's a simple equation," general manager Brian Sabean said. "We'll only pay him what we can pay him to put a competitive team on the field. If he's looking to break the bank, our chances to sign him diminish."

And Giants owner Peter Magowan, serenaded with chants of, "Sign him! Sign him!" during Friday night's celebration, said it's not such a simple situation.

"It sounds like a stupid question -- are your chances to win better with Barry or without him," Magowan said" the biggest question is, depending on what we have to pay him, how much do we have left over to win with?

"Barry has said all the right things. His primary motivation is to win, and he doesn't want to saddle the Giants with a number that would prohibit us from having that chance. He has said that money is not the most important thing. But Scott Boras hasn't said that, and it remains to be seen what comes out of the negotiating process.

"I'm sure he'd take less to stay here," Magowan added. "How much less, who knows?"

Bonds again said Sunday he's not eager to leave San Francisco.

"This is my home. It's been my home since 1968 when my dad came here. It's always been my home," he said.

"My relationship has been up and down, but for the most part has been good. This year it's been exceptionally good," he added. "You walk into a store, and you run into little old ladies who've never seen a baseball game before in their whole life, telling you what a great accomplishment you have."

Related information
Barry Bonds: Swing King
Members of the 500 Home Run Club
Bonds sets, resets home run record
Bonds rests as Giants fall to Dodgers again
Baseball's best on display on final weekend
Dodgers-Giants Box Score
Barry Bonds' 2001 Home Run Log
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