Aaron says Bonds should keep HR record
ATLANTA — Hank Aaron believes Barry Bonds should keep major league baseball’s home run record.
“In all fairness to everybody, I just don’t see how you really can do a thing like that and just say somebody isn’t the record holder anymore, and let’s go back to the way that it was,” Aaron told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.
Aaron hit 755 home runs in his career to break the previous mark of 714 by Babe Ruth. Bonds, who did not play last season, surpassed Aaron in 2007 and has 762 career home runs.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied in 2003 to a grand jury when he said he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Commissioner Bud Selig has indicated that he’s given some thought to returning the record to Aaron if it is proved Bonds used steroids.
“If you did that, you’d have to go back and change all kinds of records, and the (home run) record was very important to me,” Aaron said. “It’s probably the most hallowed record out there, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s now in the hands of somebody else. It belongs to Barry. No matter how we look at it, it’s his record, and I held it for a long time. But my take on all of this has always been the same. I’m not going to say that Barry’s got it because of this or because of that, because I don’t know.”
Aaron told Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Terence Moore that he doesn’t think the commissioner would like to get involved.
“There are things out there besides worrying about a home run record that somebody now holds,” Aaron said. “Barry has the record, and I don’t think anybody can change that.”
Aaron and Selig have been friends for more than 50 years, and Selig was in Atlanta last week for the slugger’s 75th birthday celebration. Aaron said he and the commissioner have never discussed the possibility of restoring the home run record to him.
Baseball’s week of drug news
In a week, more All-Stars appeared in federal court cases than in a game between the Pirates and Reds. It was a record week, it seemed, when it came to baseball drug news in the courts.
Two days after Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site that three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez tested positive for Primobolan and testosterone during baseball’s anonymous survey in 2003, Rodriguez tells ESPN he took banned substances (he didn’t specify which ones) while playing with the Texas Rangers from 2001-3.
Also, federal prosecutors again asked a federal judge in San Francisco to let them show a jury three drug test results they say show Barry Bonds used steroids. The seven-time NL MVP is under indictment for making false statements and obstruction of justice, related to when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he never knowingly used steroids. His trial is to start March 2.
Former AL MVP Miguel Tejada is charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with lying to investigators for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2005 when he denied knowledge of an unidentified ex-teammate’s use of steroids and human growth hormone.
Tejada became the first high-profile player convicted of a crime stemming from baseball’s steroids era, pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of misleading Congress. He also acknowledged he bought HGH while playing for the Oakland Athletics, his team when he won the AL MVP award in 2002. He can receive as much as a year in jail, but federal guidelines call for a lighter sentence. One his lawyers, Mark Tuohey, said he thinks Tejada will receive probation.
A federal judge in Houston dismissed most of Roger Clemens’ defamation lawsuit against his former personal trainer, saying statements made in the 2007 Mitchell Report on doping in baseball are protected. Brian McNamee has told federal agents, baseball investigator George Mitchell, a House of Representatives committee and a reported that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and human growth hormone from 1998-2001. U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison left in McNamee’s statements to Andy Pettitte, Clemens’ former New York Yankees teammate. McNamee told Pettitte that Clemens had used HGH and steroids. Ellison said Clemens must file an amended complaint within 30 days to pursue that claim further and provide specific information about how he was harmed by the statements. Clemens also is being investigated by a Washington grand jury trying to determine whether he lied to a House committee last year when he denied McNamee’s allegations.
Federal prosecutors file a memorandum in U.S. District Court in San Francisco saying they plan to call Bonds’ former personal shopper to testify at his trial next month that she saw the slugger’s personal trainer inject him. Prosecutors also said in a court filing that former teammate Bobby Estalella will testify Bonds told him about using performance-enhancing drugs.Defense attorneys and prosecutors also sparred in court documents over whether to ask potential jurors if they were aware of Rodriguez’s admission that he used banned substances. Among the government witnesses are former AL MVP Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, former NL Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago, Armando Rios, Randy Velarde, and Marvin Benard.