(CNN) -- San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds became baseball's home run king Tuesday night, crushing career homer No. 756 to pass Hank Aaron.
San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run in San Diego, California, on Saturday.
CNN.com asked readers for their take on Bonds and his historic chase. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity:
Bryan Vliet of Ithaca, New York
Aside from being a Dodger fan and a Giant hater, I do admire Bonds. First of all we are in America, where you are innocent until proven guilty. I applaud his stature during all of the turmoil around him; none of us could possibly function well enough day to day if we were being hounded and attacked everywhere we go. Hate him or love him, Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Records are meant to be broken.
Terry Ross of Bethel, Vermont
Sadly, he is an arrogant jerk. He has had the opportunity to be a historically memorable figure, but I'll bet "steroids" is the first word anyone will ever associate with him. Admittedly, the media has done a number on him, but he should have risen above it.
Sue Johnson of Charlotte, North Carolina
No matter how long this record stands, it will always be connected to steroids. He will never be the home run king. Hank Aaron still holds the title to that honor. He can deny it all he wants, but the asterisk is still there and always will be.
Karl Wagner of Green Valley, Arizona
It sickens me to think that this man's name will now sit atop a list of such greats. I do not believe that he belongs anywhere on this list, and I do not believe that his name should be uttered in the same breath with such great players. I feel that Bonds and others have tainted the sport. It is a sad day for me. Hank Aaron is the home run king in my eyes and still is until someone can beat him without an unfair advantage.
Juan Tarrats of New York
In my opinion the whole country has gone on a bend about the whole deal. He has been one of the greatest players in the history of American sports before this whole steroid scandal, and Barry has just proven that the country's opinion does not matter to him. All that matters to him is achieving the best he can as a baseball player. Like or not, he is now king of the most treasured record in American sports; so enjoy it and keep your opinions to yourself.
Darryl Williams of St. Louis, Missouri
I think his accomplishment is a great feat, and I wish certain media outlets and personnel would get off the issues of "steroids and a tainted record." Whatever happened to the adage, "In America, a person is innocent until proven guilty." As a fan of baseball, all I am interested in is enjoying "The Game," but thanks to the media, that is a seemingly difficult task. I think the persecution of Mr. Bonds is a disgrace to the sport and an insult to true fans of baseball.
Rod Burnette of Blairsville, Georgia
As a lifelong Georgia resident, I guess it would be easy to say that I am biased. But with that being said, I think Bonds' achievement, if you can call it that, is definitely tainted. As a skinny little kid with the Pirates, he did some great things. In fact it could be said that he performed very similar to Hank Aaron. Hank was also a solid all-around player, although most people only know him for his home run record.
However, Hank continued to play at the same level for his whole career, where Bonds somehow managed to double his production in his late 30s when players are starting on their decline if they have even managed to make it that far.
Barry Bonds is the new home run champ. But there will always be that stigma that will stick with that title. That he cheated. And everyone knows it. And Barry knows it as well. So when he is cherishing his new title, it won't be as sweet as guilt creeps in and clouds his consciousness.
Perhaps one day when his body is broken down and the medical effects from steroids begin to plague him, he will do the right thing and admit he took steroids and help other athletes not make the same mistakes.
Dan Hammans of Irving, Texas
I think that it's obvious that Barry Bonds is/was taking performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants and other foreign substances to attain the strength necessary to hit all those home runs. It's important to note that he has great skills, a great work ethic and is a gifted athlete. Despite everything he has done, he has still stepped behind the plate and hit all those home runs. You don't do that without a mountain of natural talent and years of dedication to the game. People seem to think that it's as easy as popping open a bottle and taking pills to gain that much muscle. Thousands of hours in the gym are required just like anyone else.
Terry Crandall of Hillsboro, Oregon
You can't compare Bonds to Aaron. Aaron was a professional in all senses of the word. For the most part, Aaron utilized his God-given skills to reach his goals. Bonds will never attain the respect that Hank Aaron achieved during his career. Different times and different values. When you play for the money, the end justifies the means. We should be ashamed at what "professional" athletes are paid today. The time of the sports "heroes" is pretty much gone.
William Olds of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Barry Bonds is just a man who plays a game. All these people worked up about steroid use should go on and get a life. If the average person would just get up off the couch and put down the beer and pizza and actually train with real weights, cardio and eat six protein-based meals (every two hours) they would be amazed at how their bodies would look and what they could do as well.
Thomas Greene of Nashville, Tennessee
I salute Barry Bonds and I was impressed with the Padre fans for their reception. I am very weary of the naysayers.
He is not a cheater. It has to be against the rules of a game before someone can cheat. The problem (only assuming he took steroids) was with the rules. ... Who gets to decide what "cheating" is OK and what is not?
Glenn Field of Foxboro, Massachusetts
In America, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If he's proven guilty, then there should be an asterisk by his name in the record books. However, even so, it is a great feat that he has accomplished. He, like Pete Rose, should be allowed to enter the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown someday, even if it is with an asterisk as a caveat. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
Randy Ver Hagen of Queen Creek, Arizona
Goodbye Major League Baseball. While millions will continue to do so, I will no longer delude myself into believing that your records are legitimate and timeless. I am a juror in the court of public opinion where the burden of proof is simply that the accused is likely to have committed the crime. I render the following verdict. 1) Barry Bonds is guilty of willfully using banned substances. 2) Major League Baseball is guilty of indifference to their own rules that were designed to keep the playing field even.
"Be Like Barry" is not a motto to live by. His lesson is ... break whatever rules you want, so long as you don't get caught, officially. So enjoy Barry, the fraternity is now all yours.
Bruce Wolf of Portland, Oregon
The press has ruined Barry Bonds. Heroes have to be likable to be heroes today. Baseball is a business, just a business. Since when do powerful businessmen or lawyers have to be likable to be recognized for their greatness?
As a child I watched Willie Mays play and dominate at the Polo Grounds. He was the most likable young ballplayer of his era. Then as a young man I watched him ostracized and shunned for being a greeter at an Atlantic City casino. The officials of Major League Baseball donned their tall, black hats and loaded their blunderbusses and played at being the Puritans that they want people to believe they are. Shame on MLB. Now it's Bonds' turn.
When Bonds fails a drug test, then I will feel differently. Now I just wish I could hit a fastball like he does.
August DeVico of Hillsborough, New Jersey
No doubt Bonds will break the record. However, while a significant accomplishment, the record will always be tainted and empty. Our hope can only be that this record will not stand for long. I suspect we will have to live with it for at least 10 years with Alex Rodriguez our only hope of an unblemished record. Two questions remain: Can he (A-Rod) stay healthy, and will I live that long?
Arnold Mitchell of Montgomery, Alabama
For most of Bonds' baseball career, he has been closed lips to the press. These kinds of acts will make the system promote you or demote you in the sports world. (Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Carl Lewis, Hank Aaron and so on.) I am a black American. If Bonds was white, what would be your reaction toward him? Baseball Boss was there to watch [Bonds'] 755th home run, but kept his hands in his pants pockets.
Reynaldo Valcarcel of Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico
Give me a break. Corked bats, doctoring baseballs by pitchers. Not to mention equipment and training has changed over the years. Nothing is sacred, but it's always been baseball. And hitting is concentration and hand-eye coordination. Tell me how steroids help you hit a round ball with a round bat, when the ball is spinning at 90 mph-plus. This is not track, and it's not football. This is not a guy who used to hit singles and now hits 500 footers.
Alec Krogg of Woodland Hills, California
What Barry Bonds has done means nothing. National applause for an individual who has hit over 755 home runs in his/her own league is as common as Hank Aaron's home run record being matched -- it's never happened. While Bonds plays in a different league, he surely fails to qualify to break Aaron's record. To do that he would have to be part of Aaron's MLB. Bonds is not. While the league has changed, one constant feature that ties all MLB eras together would be the role of the individual and their natural ability to play the game. Bonds plays by his own set of rules -- unnaturally and unapologetically. If we are concerned with Hank Aaron's MLB record, then we should only consider those who play the game within its spirit. Aaron was a player of class and resilience. His record stills stands, unmatched. Like many with childhood dreams of hitting an MLB home run, Bonds can still dream of another life where he could have broken Aaron's record.
Alan Gregory of Whitefish, Montana
Although Barry Bonds is a superb slugger, I think you are comparing apples and oranges when looking at him vs. Aaron. Look at the fundamental tools of baseball today: balls and bats. Both have changed significantly over the past 30 years. Today the bats are specialized to allow a ball to go farther. Also, in today's game balls are replaced in the field as soon as they get one scuff mark (and that is often after one pitch). To hit 755 home runs in Aaron's day was a much harder feat than today. Add those facts to the steroid abuse by Bonds, and I really can't believe anyone is even considering Bonds to be the same class player and in the same league as Aaron.
John Tu of Mesa, Arizona
Good for Barry. I hope he hits 100 more. By the way, has it ever been proven he took steroids? All I have seen is stories from people who don't like him, or they are trying to gain something?
Mark Puglisi of St. Louis, Missouri
Baseball fans like myself have had to suffer through a chronic sense of malaise thanks to Bonds. Hoping he'd just retire and go away, this season has been a painful one to watch.
George Padavil of Bloomington, Illinois
Bonds has always been regarded as one of the great baseball players. It is great that he is about to break the record. Congratulations to great Bonds. There are people who think that he used steroids. It shouldn't be a factor to deny his achievement. It is the skill that makes one a great player, not steroids. One could be taking any amount of steroids and still be a lousy player. Give him the honor he has earned. E-mail to a friend
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