On August 7, 2007, Barry Bonds took a characteristically compact swing and sent a baseball soaring into the foggy San Francisco night, as he'd done so many times before.
This baseball carried history with it over AT&T Park's right center field wall along with 108 crimson double stitches. Here, let's relive the moment:
When Giants play-by-play man Duane Kuiper said, "Bonds stands alone," it resonated in more ways than one.
In a literal sense, that blast—No. 756 of Bonds' career—moved him past Hank Aaron and into sole possession of MLB's all-time home run record.
In another way, Bonds already stood alone. He was the poster boy for baseball's steroid era, putting up cartoonish, unbelievable stats while marooned on an island of controversy.
Thanks to the performance-enhancing drug expose Game of Shadows and the BALCO investigation, Bonds' misdeeds became part of public record, even though he was never suspended or, ultimately, punished for any crime.
"This record is not tainted at all. At all," Bonds told reporters at the time. "Period. You guys can say whatever you want."
Ten years after Bonds re-calibrated one of sports' most hallowed milestones (he finished with 762, if you forgot), it's worth asking: Will anyone ever take his (cough) tainted home run crown?
Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels is the active home run leader with 608. The 37-year-old three-time MVP hit 31 last season and has 17 so far this year, but he would need to sustain a 30-homer average through 2020 just to sniff 700.
The Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is second among active players with 459 and is only 34 years old. He's battled injuries of late, however, and hasn't tallied 40 home runs since 2013.
The only other current big leaguers in the 400-homer club are 38-year-old Adrian Beltre (454) and 40-year-old Carlos Beltran (434).
To find a legitimate challenger for Bonds, we must cast our gaze on the game's younger generation.
It begins with the Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, who's sitting on 149 home runs at age 24.
If Harper averaged 40 homers for the next 10 years, he'd be at or past 550 entering his age-35 season. For perspective, Bonds had 445 homers entering his age-35 campaign.
Bonds also went on a (cough, allegedly) chemically aided fence-clearing binge in his MLB twilight, but at least Harper's got a shot.
So does the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, who turns 27 on August 7, the anniversary of Bonds' Aaron-surpassing bomb.
With 189 long balls to date, Trout would have to sustain 40-homer pop into his early 40s, a tall order but also a distinct possibility considering his generational skill set.
If health weren't a factor, the leader in the clubhouse would be Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who has smacked 244 home runs at age 27.
Stanton also hasn't played 120 games since 2014 due to a litany of injuries, but he's on pace to change that this season and has an MLB-leading 36 dingers entering play Monday.
The home run is back in a major way across both leagues, despite the advent of PED testing. Maybe it's revised hitting strategies and beefier players, maybe it's a juiced ball.
"We are in a period where we have bigger, stronger, faster athletes—like all sports," Commissioner Rob Manfred recently told reporters.
Either way, the odds that someone will claim the mantle from Bonds are real.
Possibly he's a hitter yet unborn, or taking his first hacks in tee-ball. Perhaps it'll be a just-christened slugger such as the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge or Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger.
If we're putting money on an established big leaguer, it's Stanton, because of his raw power and the assumption his disabled-list luck will turn around.
It won't happen this season, the one after that or the one after that. At some point, though, someone could send a baseball and its 108 stitches soaring into the night.
Hopefully, the word "tainted" will have nothing to do with it.
All statistics current as of Sunday and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
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