The First Piece of the Puzzle

December 5, 2016 — Last winter, I began talking with my fellow editors in the Yankees’ publications department about the idea of producing a commemorative issue of Yankees Magazine, centering around the greatest home runs and most prolific home run hitters in team history.

The idea was well received, and as the season began to move along, we started to put the pieces in place for this special publication, titled Yankees Magazine Commemorative Home Run Edition While I was in Florida for spring training, I sat down with the sport’s all-time home run king, Barry Bonds, to interview him about Alex Rodriguez. During our half-hour long conversation at the Miami Marlins spring training facility (where Bonds served as a coach), Bonds was extremely candid with his feelings about A-Rod’s many accomplishments at the plate. This first piece of copy that we captured for the commemorative ultimately was used as a Q&A sidebar to a long feature on Rodriguez’ career.

My favorite part of our conversation came when I asked Bonds to discuss other players who have hit 500, 600 and 700 home runs, including A-Rod, who finished his career with 696 long-balls.

“When I came up, the 500 home run club was the class that we aspired to be in,” said Bonds, who hit 762 home runs. “If you could get to 500 or any number above that, we felt that we had reached greatness. I didn’t even think about getting to 700 home runs. That’s a crazy number. Babe Ruth was the start of it, and I know how important he is to the game. Hank Aaron topped his total, and I admire what he was able to do while dealing with so much adversity. Unfortunately, Babe Ruth wasn’t around when I was growing up, but Hank Aaron is around now. I love that man more than anything you can imagine, and I appreciate what he’s accomplished throughout his career. Alex is in the same class with those great men because he’s been a great player for an extraordinarily long time.”

Yankees Magazine Commemorative Home Run Edition is available at Yankees.com/publications and by calling (800) GO-YANKS. The publication is also available at Yankee Stadium and at retailers in and around New York City.

— Alfred Santasiere III