SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' left foot dug into the batter's box. He tapped his black-barreled bat on the far side of the plate. Next came three practice swings, and baseball's ultimate home-run engine was revved up, ready to go.

And it went, home run No. 756, off toward the great cable car beyond the center-field stands.

Bonds' arms shot up seemingly before any of the 43,154 fans' could. As the sellout crowd stood in awe Tuesday night at AT&T Park, Bonds stood alone, one home run better than former, yes, former home-run king Hank Aaron.

Like it or not, folks, Bonds has hit more home runs than anyone in major-league baseball history.

This was the moment we've all been waiting for, the climax of a long-lost Giants season, the ultimate payoff for paying attention every time Bonds has ever stepped into a batter's box.

"Thank you, thank you very much," Bonds said into a microphone as he stood on the third-base line next to Giants legend Willie Mays, his godfather, during a 10-minute delay following No. 756. "I've got to thank all of you. ... It means a lot to me."

It surely means more to him than any of us.

For most of us haven't been dogged by steroid accusations, deteriorating limbs and general disdain by the American public.

This was Bonds' brass ring more than it was ours. He thanked fans, his teammates and his family, including his late father, Bobby, "who probably would say, 'What the (heck) took you so long,'" Bonds said two hours after No. 756 made the record book.


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Bonds wouldn't let any negative talk ruin his party, and that meant scoffing at a question regarding the imprisoned Greg Anderson, his friend and alleged steroid supplier.

"This record is not tainted at all," Bonds said defiantly. "You can say whatever you want."

See, he's dictating how he wants his moment. Don't mind us.

One person who could barely speak she was so excited was the lady who may have had the biggest say in bringing Bonds back to break the record in a Giants uniform.

"I'm very excited for him," said Sue Burns, who owns the largest share of the Giants, as tears began trickling down her face. "He was there for us when my husband (Harmon) was so sick, and I'm just sad Harmon wasn't here to see this. It means a lot." Harmon Burns died last year.

Bonds gave Sue Burns a huge hug as he left the Giants clubhouse after the game, just as he did Saturday in San Diego when he hit No. 755.

"It's certainly the moment we waited for," Burns said of No. 756.

Bonds insisted this moment wasn't the driving reason the Giants re-signed him last offseason, giving him a one-year, $15.8 million contract to play a 22nd season.

"I think they brought me back to help this team win, not just to get a record," Bonds said. "I haven't quit, yet. We'll see what happens."

The 43-year-old Bonds, a seven-time MVP, is the "greatest of all time," according to Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik, the 446th pitcher to yield a home run to Bonds. "Giving up (756) to Barry Bonds is nothing to be ashamed of," Bacsik said.

It was Aaron, not Bacsik, who served up the night's most surprising moment.

Aaron wasn't present -- as he forewarned everyone -- but he delivered a video tribute during the post-756 celebration. He didn't express any disdain or dissatisfaction, instead offering congratulations to Bonds and stating: "It is a great accomplishment which requires skill, longevity and determination."

Aaron left it up to others to add how it may have also required performance-enhancing drugs to surpass the mark he held since 1974, a span covering 12,173 days.

Bonds said it "meant everything" to hear those approving words from Aaron.

In the end, it all seemed to go so according to script, though the 435-foot blast did deviate from this storybook moment by not landing in McCovey Cove, which had become the landing spot for Bonds' signature shots since The House That Barry Built opened in 2000.

Not surprisingly, Bonds stood still like a golfer on the tee box and watched his historic drive sail over the green, manicured fairway in right-center field. Bacsik stood still, too, refusing to turn his back and instead grasping the back of his head with the hand that just released a historic 3-2 pitch.

Bonds, the local kid, made good. How he made it is up to you to decide. He's made his decision.

Whatever happens down the road to Bonds -- whether he's indicted by the feds for perjury, or is suspended by Selig, or reverses his field and calls it quits after this, his 22nd season -- he'll always have the memories of hitting No. 756 before his home crowd, his loyal defenders.