Organic Matter: Bonds goes to the plate with more homers

St.

Louis first baseman Mark McGwire's run as baseball's single-season home run champion lasted just three years.

McGwire clubbed 70 homers in 1998, a mark one might think would stand for at least as long as it took Roger Maris to hit 61 in 1961 to break the record of 60 Babe Ruth held since 1927.

But San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds joined McGwire in a select club with just two members by hitting his 70th homer Thursday night at Enron Field in Houston.

Bonds then set a new record by homering in each of his first two at-bats Friday night against Los Angeles right-hander Chan Ho Park.

Bonds drilled No.

69 Sept.

29 against San Diego.

But Houston pitchers evidently decided they did not want to risk becoming part of a trivia question concerning who surrendered No.

70 to Bonds.

Astros' hurlers threw few pitches in the strike zone in games Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bonds' two young daughters held up a sign pleading "Pitch to Our Daddy" on Wednesday night, but to no avail.

Bonds drew three walks Wednesday in a Giants' 11-8 victory.

The first pass, issued by Tim Redding in the fourth inning, tied Bonds with Ruth for the single-season walk record of 170 set in 1923 by "the Bambino." Another walk in the sixth issued by Nelson Cruz gave Bonds the walk record all to himself.

Three more walks were given to Bonds in Thursday's game with the Astros.

But rookie lefthander Wilfredo Rodriguez entered the game as Bonds led off the ninth inning.

As Bonds is a left-handed batter, I wondered if he finally was going to be pitched to.

Sure enough.

Rodriguez slipped a fastball past the swinging Bonds on the first pitch before throwing a ball.

The third offering was another fastball clocked at 93 mph.

It was up in the strike zone and over the plate.

Bonds did not miss this time.

He sent the pitch some 454 feet into the second deck in right field, gingerly tossing away his bat and watching the record-tying homer.

As he completed his circuit of the bases, teammates mobbed Bonds at the plate and his son, Nikolai, gave him an embrace.

Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who is Bonds' godfather, was in the stands to witness the feat.

Mays stands in third place on the all-time list with 660 home runs.

The homer was the 564th of Bonds' career and moved him past Reggie Jackson, a cousin, into seventh place on the all-time list.

San Francisco won the game 10-2 to complete a three-game sweep of the Astros.

However, Bonds' heroics Friday night against the Dodgers could not keep all fans of the Giants from suffering a letdown as the team fell 11-10.

The loss eliminated San Francisco from playoff contention.

San Diego's Rickey Henderson also was in the news last week as pennant races wound down.

Henderson scored a run Wednesday night as the Padres dropped a 12-5 game to the Dodgers in San Diego.

It was the 2,245th run scored by Henderson in his career, tying him for the all-time mark held for 73 years by Ty Cobb.

Henderson slugged a home run Thursday night and celebrated the record setting run scored by sliding into home plate.

The homer was also the 2998th hit of Henderson's career and came off Los Angeles right-hander Luke Prokopec on a 1-0 pitch.

The Padres won the game 6-3.

It's good to see record setting performances as another baseball season draws to a close.

True, baseball is just a game and rather insignificant in light of events of Sept.

11.

But the sport draws young, old and in-between ages of both genders and many races to a place where everyone can put aside their troubles and concerns for three hours.

I wonder what post season play may hold for us.

Terry Organ is the Miner's education, health and weather reporter.