A Barry Bonds Contest
Who will give up Barry Bonds’s 756th home run?
The first person who correctly identifies the pitcher who winds up surrendering Bonds’s record-breaker will get a signed copy of Freakonomics.
One guess per comment, please.
And a related question: for all the talk about not wanting to be the pitcher who gives up Bonds’s 756th, would it really be such a terrible thing? I remember Al Downing mainly because he’s the one who gave up Hank Aaron’s 715th HR. Wouldn’t you think that Downing derives considerable value — name recognition, more invitations to card shows, etc. — from having given up that HR? It’s not like it’s such a black mark to give up a home run to a hitter who’s hit more than 700 of them. From Downing’s Wikipedia page (yes, take it with a grain of salt): “Downing was a radio broadcaster for the Dodgers through 2005. As of 2006, he remains on the Dodgers Speaker’s Bureau.”
Also: after all the hullabaloo about whether Bud Selig would try to witness Bonds’s record-breaking home run, it’s worth noting what George Vecsey wrote not long in the N.Y. Times [sub. req’d.]:
When Aaron passed Babe Ruth’s record of 714 in 1974, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, for whatever reason, sent his assistant, Monte Irvin, a gesture that was widely interpreted as a bungle and an insult.