NPR logo The GOAT


The acronym stands for the "Greatest of All Time." I was struggling to stay awake when Barry Bonds blasted that 3-2 pitch over the wall at the deepest part of the ballpark last night... just about midnight, Eastern time. And, as he surpassed what many regard as the most treasured record in sports, GOAT seemed about as apt a description as possible, in both senses of the term.

There's another word you can take both ways with Mr. Bonds. Incredible. The moment that ball landed in the seats for home run 756, there could be no dispute that baseball had a new home run king. By any measure, this represents a phenomenal accomplishment. But the fact remains that a lot of people simply don't believe it. Or, not to put too fine a point on it, him.
I'm glad we were able to talk yesterday with Al Downing, the pitcher who surrendered #715 to Henry Aaron, when he surpassed the record of the great Babe Ruth and overcame taunts and death threats to do it. The pitcher who throws the pitch is forever a footnote, but, as Mr., Downing said, most major league baseball players aren't remembered, even very accomplished players (he was a very good pitcher for most of his 17 seasons in the majors), so even if you're remembered as a footnote to history, at least people know your name.

By the by, USA Today ran a nice short piece this morning, which notes the home run champions in other leagues...Sadaharu Oh in Japan, for example.

Funny, I thought I'd see Crash Davis's name there somewhere.