DENVER – Hank Aaron has spent the past two months as the second-greatest home-run hitter of all time, standing now seven behind Barry Bonds, but mostly above the controversy that chased Bonds and his summer-long pursuit of the record.
At the World Series to present his Hank Aaron Award to Alex Rodriguez, who did not attend, and Prince Fielder, Aaron said he declined to attend Bonds' games because he'd already experienced one tempest, 33 years before.
"That bull----," Aaron said, "about black and white, black and white."
Long before he'd arrived at Aaron's record, Bonds had become the face of baseball's steroids addiction, stoking arguments regarding the legitimacy of his home runs.
Aaron, who congratulated Bonds with a recorded message the night he hit his 756th home run, said he'd not wanted to enter into the debate.
"When Barry was chasing the record, it was all about steroids," Aaron said. "I didn't want to get involved in that."
In terms of his record belonging to Bonds, Aaron said, "I'm sure Barry thinks that it's wonderful. It didn't bother me because I stayed out of the limelight. But it wasn't because I had any animosity toward Barry breaking the record. I didn't want to get back into the controversy. … I'd rather stay home with my grandkids.
Aaron, 73, had surgery on his right knee about two weeks ago and entered the press conference on crutches.
With his wife, Billye, Aaron announced collaboration with MLB, the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America that will provide for a perpetual endowment of 44 annual grants to children. Aaron wore No. 44 through his 23-year career.
- Hank Aaron Award