Aaron: Bonds can keep record

By John Schlegel
Updated: February 14, 2009

Barry Bonds (left) and Hank Aaron (circa 2002)

Barry Bonds (left) and Hank Aaron (circa 2002)

NEW YORK — Hank Aaron says baseball’s hallowed record for career home runs belongs to Barry Bonds, and in his opinion there’s nothing that should change that.

In an interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Terence Moore published Friday, Aaron made it clear he does not want the record to revert back to the 755 he compiled in his 23-year Hall of Fame career.

Many have suggested Aaron be restored as the rightful record holder, with Bonds being tried on perjury charges surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs and Alex Rodriguez, a potential heir to the record, having admitted to using them. Earlier this week, Commissioner Bud Selig was reported by USA Today to be considering such an action.

Aaron maintains that is not the way to go.

“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 Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Bonds, who set the single-season record for homers with 73 in 2001, broke Aaron’s career record on Aug. 7, 2007. He finished that season with 762 home runs, which currently stands as the all-time mark. Bonds hoped to play in the 2008 season but did not sign with a team.

Aaron, who is a senior vice president for the Braves, said in the interview that doing something to the home run record would open up a Pandora’s box. Selig had a similar comment in the New York Daily News this week, saying “once you start tinkering you create more problems.”

Aaron agrees.

“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,” said Aaron, who holds the career RBIs record with 2,297 and held the home run mark for 33 years. “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.”

Bonds’ trial on charges that he lied in grand jury testimony by saying he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs is scheduled to begin March 2 in San Francisco.