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From Willie to Bobby to Barry

On June 25th, 1968 Bobby Bonds would hit his 1st home run in the major leagues. It would be a grand slam and I remember it like yesterday since it came against the Dodgers. I was living in Germany at the time and all of my baseball information came via the Sporting News.  I would read the Sporting News from cover to cover and over and over until the next copy came. The Dodgers were the weakest team in baseball and when Bobby Bonds came up it seemed like the end of the world. Didn't seem fair to a 10 year old that a team that already had Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Jim Ray Hart should be able to add such a great talent, while the Dodgers only had Len Gabrielson to hang their hat on.

Bobby Bonds was 22 years old and they said he'd be the next Willie Mays. He had speed, power, powerful arm, and charisma. He ended up having an excellent career and over time became one of my favorite ballplayers but he was no Willie Mays.

Watching his son hit his home run tonight and seeing Willie Mays standing next to him I couldn't help but think back to the 1st time I read about Bobby Bonds and how strange it was that his son had become the best player of his generation.