Before the game in which I hit number 62, I met with two representatives from the Hall of Fame and told them I would turn over to them the bat and ball from the record home run. After the game I said to myself, You know what? What good is it going to do for me to have the jersey or the batting gloves or even my shoes? So right after the game I asked someone in the clubhouse, "Where are the Hall of Fame guys?" Someone ran out and got them, and I told them, "Listen, guys, you've got everything off my back." I gave them everything. That's where the history of the game is. It doesn't belong in my house. It belongs in the Hall of Fame. At least I know it's safe there.
I've kept nothing for myself so far. I've been like that my whole life. I've always loved to give things to people and see smiles on their faces. From home run number 50 on, I gave a hat to teammate Ray Lankford, shoes to teammates Tom Lampkin and Delino DeShields and Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight and batting gloves to Marlins manager Jim Leyland. I gave the jersey I wore when I hit number 61 to my father. I gave the bat I used to hit numbers 50 through 55 to Jim Milner, who's been a second father to me. They both were speechless. You know what? That makes me feel good because these people have been there for me since Day One.
So where do I go from here? My next big career goal is to hit 500 home runs. I have 449 now. Somebody said I have a shot at 755, Hank Aaron's alltime career record. I think that's too far away for me. I will say this: How high my career total climbs comes down to my health. If I stay healthy like I have the past few years and I put up the numbers that I'm capable of, who knows how many more home runs I'll hit?
Anyway, I'm too focused on finishing this season strong to worry about the years ahead. I'm not surprised that Sammy tied me at 62 on Sunday. Not for one minute did I ever think this was over. No way. I've said before there are two weeks left in the season, and that's a long time. Anything can happen. It's like a horse race, with the horses jockeying back and forth. What it comes down to is, who is hotter at the end.
I have a couple of goals that I want to reach this year: I'd love to bat .300, though I was only at .290 after Sunday and have to get on my horse to get there. The other goal is closest to my heart. It's something private between Matthew and myself. On the day before I left for spring training this year, I asked him, "Matt, how many homers do you want me to hit this season?" He told me a number—a number that's within reach.
What is it? I won't tell you. For now it's still a secret between father and son. But you'll probably be able to tell if I get there. After that one, I'll have tears in my eyes.