NEW YORK -- As Barry Bonds nears his record 756th home run,
he's stockpiling quite a collection of souvenirs -- bats, balls,
helmets and spikes, pieces of baseball history perfectly suited for
the Hall of Fame.
Whether he'll donate any of them to Cooperstown, however, is in
"I'm not worried about the Hall," the San Francisco slugger
said during a recent homer drought. "I take care of me."
No wonder those at the museum are getting concerned, especially
with Bonds only 10 homers shy of breaking Hank Aaron's career mark.
"There's uncertainty," Hall vice president Jeff Idelson
Around 35,000 artifacts are shown and stored at the shrine, and
about a dozen pertain to Bonds.
There is a bat from his rookie year and cleats from him becoming
the first player in the 400-homer/400-steal club. Unsolicited, he
sent the bat and ball from his 2,000th hit. A batting practice bat
from the 2002 World Series was the last thing Bonds provided.
"Doesn't everybody have the right to decide to do it or not do
it?" he said last week.
The most prized items, the ones that fans would really want to
see, are missing.
Nothing directly from Bonds to highlight his 500th home run.
Ditto for homers 714 and 715, when he tied and passed Babe Ruth.
Same for anything tied to him topping Mark McGwire's single-season
total of 70.
I'm not worried about the Hall. I take care of me.
Hall president Dale Petroskey went to visit Bonds at spring
training last year, and instead walked smack into his reality show.
The Giants talked to Bonds this year, and hope he'll be in a giving
mood as the big moment comes and goes.
So far, Bonds has not indicated he intends to share any
A Hall representative plans to follow Bonds once he gets within
a few home runs of Aaron's 755. Idelson has collected treasures for
Cooperstown for more than a dozen years.
"Barry is very cognizant of his place in baseball history and
we'll try to work closely with him to assure him that how this
milestone is represented meets his expectations and ours," Idelson
"You need artifacts from the player to do that," he said. "A
cap, bat or jersey, anything can tie a visitor to a specific
Aaron, who has said he will not attend the record-breaker, is
well-documented at the Hall. There are 40 assorted items from his
career; Ruth is remembered with more than 30.
The Hall does have the home plate from Bonds' 714th homer and
first base and the lineup card from No. 715 -- those came from
ballparks, not him.
Bonds has been generous with teammates and opponents. He
recently signed a guitar that Giants pitcher Barry Zito gave to
charity and autographed a bat for Houston's Craig Biggio. He's also
given some of his own things to charity.
Bonds is careful with personal items related to his home run
pursuit. He makes certain that hats, jerseys and other things he
wears are authenticated, and he keeps them in a warehouse.
He marks them, he said, "so people don't steal my stuff." By
his count, he's already able to take care of his next three-plus
Whether that memorabilia shows up on his personal Web site or in
Cooperstown remains to be seen. He opted out of Major League
Baseball's licensing agreement before the 2004 season, and some of
his gear is auctioned off on MLB's Web site -- on Monday, bidding
topped $10,000 for a Bonds-signed Giants jersey.
Also to be determined is whether Bonds himself is inducted into
the Hall. If he does make it, that could be his first trip to the
red-bricked building on Main Street.
Bonds becomes eligible for election five years after his final
game, and there's no telling how steroid allegations will affect
his vote total.
The Hall is independent of MLB and the word "steroid" does not
appear inside the shrine.
"There's not a lot you can say about it," Idelson said. "As
the story plays out, we'll address it."