January 28, 2010
It's a question that has long been asked around baseball circles: Did Mike Bacsik(notes) intentionally give up Barry Bonds'(notes) 756th home run so that he could one day be the answer to a trivia question and maybe attain some sort of fame?
But despite those whispers, it wasn't until Wednesday when an involved party offered a public opinion in the affirmative. Appearing on Sirius XM's MLB Home Plate with F.P. Santangelo and Joe Castellano, former Nationals pitcher Tim Redding(notes) said he thinks Bacsik did.
Now a pitcher for the Rockies, Tim Redding was scheduled to start for the Nationals the day after Aug. 7, 2007 and was charting pitches when Bacsik gave a fifth-inning home run to Bonds that allowed the Giants slugger to surpass Hank Aaron.
What he saw — presumably coupled with the enthusiastic way Bacsik greeted his newfound fame after the game — led Redding to a conclusion.
From the interview:
"I mean, the guy that gave it up, I never want to speak ill of anybody," Redding said. "Mike Bacsik is a stand-up guy. He's a little quirky, but he's a nice guy, means well. I think he wanted to give it up. And he can say what he wants in defense or whatnot, but doing the chart, I mean, every ball that Barry hit, the ball was center cut, right down the middle, fastball. You know, I think maybe inside he was thinking he was going to get a little bit more publicity. Maybe, you know, publicity and some money out of it, appearances, stuff like that."
The box score from that night reveals that Bonds went 3-for-3 against Bacsik that night, also hitting a double on a full count in the second inning and a single on an 0-1 count in the third.
The fifth-inning homer then allowed Bascik to enter the history books, something that Mike's father — Rangers pitcher Mike Bascik Sr. — avoided 31 years earlier. That's when he faced Hank Aaron in the same game that the aging slugger hit No. 755 (and then later in the season).
"You either have to be a really special player to be remembered in this game or be part of a special moment. I didn't want to give up the home run but I'm very lucky to be part of a very special moment."
Bacsik hasn't pitched in the majors since the end of 2007 and someone — though I forget who — said earlier that Bacsik grooving a pitch "was redundant."
But count me among those who believe that Bonds would've hit No. 756 sooner or later anyway and that a journeyman pitcher possibly deciding to work his way into the photo frame doesn't rank as one of the world's biggest controversies. (After all, it's not as if Bonds ordered Bacsik to do it or someone like Greg Maddux(notes) decided he wanted in on the moment.)
Update: Mike Bacsik just tweeted the following — "Well just got a call from Bill Ladson of washingtonnationals.com and Tim Redding said he believes I tried to give up homer#756 Good teammate"