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.


I'm afraid that I don't know anything about baseball, so I can't join in the guessing game of which pitcher might be involved in breaking the record. But as a cricket fan, I can certainly agree with the argument that it might not be such an unlucky break for them.

One famous example of this occurred in cricket in August 1968, when the great West Indian all rounder Gary Sobers hit six sixes (a six is a shot that clears the boundary of the field without touching the ground - so rather like a home run - for which the batsman scores six runs) in one over - that is six consecutive balls sent down by the same bowler. This was the first time this had ever been achieved in first class cricket. The bowler concerned was Malcolm Nash. Despite the fact that Nash took more than 1000 first class wickets, he is far more famous for those six bowls than he would ever have otherwise been. You can see the video of the event here:




I think it will be Franquelis Osoria of the Pirates.


John Lannan of the Washington Nationals. He starts Monday night in San Francisco . . .


I would have picked Lannan but asbarb beat me to it while I was registering. So I'll go with Mike Bacsik, the next night's starter for the Nats.


Nuts. I was going to guess Lannan also. Tim Redding is my guess.


Paul Maholm, Pittsburgh.

Matt R

I'll go with Clay Hensley on Saturday.


Wouldn't insulting Sir Cheatsalot be the whole point?


Justin Germano for me.


Joel Hanrahan


Fun stuff. I'll go with Paul Maholm on August 12th.


Shane Youman - pirates for me


Oops, taken. I'll take Tom Gorzelanny then.


Since the Nats starters are gone, I'll go Saul Rivera, their right handed long reliever.


How about Jo-Jo Reyes of the Braves.


John Smoltz, of the Braves. Yes, I'm betting on this taking a long time, and I might have the Braves' rotation wrong... but why not have it be someone that people would remember anyway.


Billy Traber...


Heath Bell :-)


maddux, tonite.


Nobody. He won't do it