TRIBUTE - Giants withdraws number to Bonds and Mays asks to vote for him to Cooperstown

TRIBUTE - Giants withdraws number to Bonds and Mays asks to vote for him to Cooperstown

Bonds saw his number retired by the Giants during a long ceremony on Saturday night, before playing against his other team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, also to 11 years in the month he broke the home run record to Hank Aaron in his season number 22 and final of Major Leagues. Still loved and cheered in the Bay Area he cherishes as his home, Bonds ended his career under the cloud of steroid accusations that made him a villain almost everywhere.
"I am overwhelmed by emotions as the reality of this day approaches," Bonds said. "This may surprise a lot of people, but when I was a kid I did not want to play baseball. I wanted to play all sports: basketball, American football, riding a bicycle, everything children do. But once my mother enrolled me … I had my first taste of what my lifelong passion would be. ''
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Surrounded by former teammates and managers, members of the Hall of Fame and his family, Bonds, who was happy, had no words as he mentally prepared for his withdrawal of his number. As in his days when he was chasing the home run record.
'' Shhhh, '' the slugger said, smiling, and a few minutes later he repeated three times, '' I have to concentrate. ''
Bonds became the tenth player in franchise history to have his number retired. He finished with 762 homers in his career.
In July 2015, Bonds said he took a big "burden off" when federal prosecutors withdrew what was left of his criminal case against him after a nearly decade-long steroid trial. Bonds needs 75 percent of the votes on the Hall of Fame ballots to be enthroned at Cooperstown. He received 56.4 percent of the ballots this year, compared to 53.8 percent last year. He had only 36.2 percent in his initial appearance.
The seven-time Most Valuable Player of the National League was greeted on Saturday with a standing ovation while the fans chanted his name. Bonds, 54, waved, clapped and raised his arms to acknowledge the applause as he made his grand entrance from center field.
"Thanks San Francisco, thank you for making all my dreams come true," Bonds said as he concluded a long and thoughtful speech thanking many and remembering his late father, Bobby.
The great Giants player, Willie Mays, Barry's godfather, asked the slugger to reach the Hall of Fame.
'' When people talk, 'Oh, who is the best ball player in the world?' I do not care, '' said Mays. "I played my 20 years, 22 years, whatever. Honor someone, that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a kind of fraternity that, when you get there, you'll say: 'Man, how did I get here?' And I want him to have that honor as something that happens to him. ''
'' Vote for this boy! '' Added Mays.
Other members of the Hall of Fame of the Giants, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry also participated in the ceremony.
Former managers Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker and current Giants driver Bruce Bochy were in attendance. There was also Bonds' mother, Pat and their three children.
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