Barry Bonds agreed Tuesday to provide the baseball Hall of Fame with an artifact when he breaks Hank Aaron's record with his 756th home run, perhaps a batting helmet.
Bonds met with Hall of Fame vice president Jeff Idelson for about 40 minutes to discuss what the San Francisco slugger might donate to Cooperstown, and Bonds initially suggested a batting helmet though nothing had been finalized. This came after earlier comments by Bonds that made it unclear if he would donate anything, with him saying, "I'm not worried about the Hall. I take care of me."
Idelson traveled to San Francisco on Tuesday primarily to meet with Bonds - and the news he received from the seven-time NL MVP made the cross-country trek worthwhile.
"As I've said all along, he has a history of being generous to the Hall of Fame, dating back to a bat from his rookie season," Idelson told The Associated Press.
"It was meaningful to have a face-to-face meeting. He assured me that if and when he hit 756, he will donate an artifact to the Hall of Fame, which in turn means he will share that milestone with the American public."
Asked by the AP whether it was a positive conversation, Bonds shook his head yes.
"Yeah, we talked," Bonds said with a smile. "No comment from me at this time. He'll tell you. I let them do all the talking. I've never been one to do all the talking. I do it with this bat."
Around 35,000 artifacts are shown and stored in the Hall of Fame, and about a dozen are connected to Bonds.
There is a bat from his rookie year and spikes from when he became the first player with 400 homers and 400 stolen bases. Unsolicited, he sent the bat and ball from his 2,000th hit. A batting practice bat from the 2002 World Series was the last thing Bonds donated.
For Idelson, there was more good news from his brief stop at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark. The Giants' 11-time Gold Glove shortstop, Omar Vizquel, provided the Hall with a jersey from when he passed Ozzie Smith for most double plays at his position last month - and it will be on display in Cooperstown starting next week. Idelson also followed up with Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, who donated items from his 500th career save earlier this month.
The 42-year-old Bonds entered Tuesday night's game against San Diego with 749 home runs, six from tying Hammerin' Hank. The Giants had encouraged Bonds recently to provide something to the Hall of Fame. Bonds keeps much of his memorabilia back home in Beverly Hills, Calif., as well as in a safe storage area.
"I have complete confidence he will be as generous then as he has been in the past," Idelson said. "All you need is one artifact to connect an event in order to tell the story to the public. I never had any doubt about where this would go based on past history. Everything in life is about timing and communication. The timing was right and the communication was good. I'm glad he was positive."
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