Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig recalls the “misery” he experienced watching former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds break the all-time home run record in 2007.
Selig’s remarks came in an excerpt of an autobiography called “For The Good of the Game.” The excerpt was published by Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.
“[The] summer of 2007 was unpleasant for me, and when I look back, that's putting it mildly,” Selig writes. “It was one of the few times in my life I wasn't excited about going to ballparks, and if you know me that's all you need to know.”
Selig wrote that everyone around him knew he was “unhappy” about Bonds becoming the new home run king. He admitted that Bonds “simply wasn’t likable” compared to Hank Aaron.
“Along the way, I had a lot of time to think about the differences between Barry Bonds, who simply wasn't likable, and Henry Aaron, who had been such a giant on the field and now was the same way off the field, carrying himself with as much poise as humility,” Selig wrote. “I have called myself a friend of Henry's since 1958 and burst with pride every time I speak about him.”
Selig wrote he couldn’t bring himself to meet with Bonds after he tied Aaron’s record in a game against the San Diego Padres.
“I trudged up to a box high atop the stadium the next night. I didn't mind being by myself. I thought I'd experienced every emotion possible at a ballpark. I'd been nervous a lot and angry more often than I'd like to admit. I'd chain-smoked and I'd felt the level of peacefulness that my friends talk about after long hikes at a national park. I'd been exhilarated and had moments of pure joy. But this took me to a place I'd never been before, and I'll admit it.
“I was thinking about that and a million other things as I watched Bonds drive a pitch from the Padres' Clay Hensley into the seats in left field in San Diego, setting off a celebration as he tied Henry's record.
I didn't go to the clubhouse to congratulate him afterward. I just couldn't bring myself to look him in the eyes and act happy about what he'd done. I don't exactly have a poker face.”
Two games later, Bonds broke the home run record at AT&T Park (now Oracle Park). He would go on to hit 28 home runs in 2007, but would not be able to find a team after that season.