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Barry Bonds just broke the all-time walk record


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source: espn.com

Sunday, July 4, 2004


ESPN2: COL@SFO Mon., 4:05 PM ET

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Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds became baseball's all-time walks leader Sunday, breaking Rickey Henderson's major league record when he drew his 2,191st from Oakland reliever Chad Bradford in the eighth inning.




The San Francisco slugger had an 0-2 count then drew four straight balls from Bradford. Bonds received a standing ovation, walked to first and picked up the base to save as a memento of the milestone. The Giants lost 9-6.




The six-time NL MVP walked on a 3-2 pitch by Oakland starter Mark Mulder leading off the sixth inning. The A's were leading 8-3. Bonds was plunked on the right hand in the second inning and threw his bat down in pain and frustration, but stayed in the game. He hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth.




"That's incredible," Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda said. "I never thought anybody was going to break it. That's unreal. Barry's a cleanup hitter. Henderson was a leadoff hitter who's supposed to walk. Wow. Unbelievable. Awesome!"




Bonds, the most feared slugger in the game, has been drawing walks at a remarkable rate in recent years as few teams are willing to challenge him. He has 121 walks in the Giants' first 82 games, including 63 intentional passes, and is on pace to shatter his single-season record of 198 set in 2002.




"That's a big accomplishment," manager Felipe Alou said Saturday in anticipation of the record-breaking walk. "There are two things: You have to be a great player and you have to be a healthy player. Barry is not a guy who has had a major injury. You also have to be good enough to make it in the lineup every day."




Bonds also walked 177 times in 2001 when he set the single-season home run mark with 73, and 148 times in 130 games last year.




The frequent walks are slowing Bonds' progress to a much more substantial record: Hank Aaron's career home run mark of 755. Bonds has gone deep 22 times this year and has 680 for his career, trailing only Aaron and Babe Ruth (714).




If he keeps up his pace of more than a walk a game, Bonds figures to open some distance from Henderson's mark in his final few seasons. But Alou figures that someday another player will come around to challenge that mark.




"There are no untouchable records," Alou said Saturday. "There's always a Barry Bonds somewhere. There's always somebody being born and trained -- a phenom."

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