No slowing down

Editor's note: This story originally aired on SportsCenter.

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were talking about Barry Bonds' 500th home run. Now he is closing in on 700, a mystical number reached by two men in history, the legendary Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron, the all-time home run king. Move over Hank, here comes Barry, joining the Biggest Threesome in sports. The 700 Club. The Holy Trinity of home run hitters.

It seems we were just talking about Bonds' 500th because we WERE. He will go from 500 home runs to 700 in less than 3½ years: the time it used to take sluggers to hit 100, he will hit 200. It took The Babe just under five years to go from 500 to 700. It took Aaron just over five years.

Bonds, who will be the first man to hit 700 in 31 years, could get there at age 40, Aaron and Ruth were 39, but the difference is, Bonds is about to arrive at 700 in his prime, in the fourth of what might be the greatest four-year stretch of any player in the history of the game. Aaron hit 40 homers in 1973, the year in which he hit No. 700, but it would be his final season of more than 20 home runs. Ruth dominated his era so completely, when he got to 700 in 1934, no one else had even half that many. But 1934 would be his second-to-last season, his last as a Yankee.

For a time, it didn't look like Bonds would get to 500, let alone 700. He was almost 26 when he hit his 100th home run, three years behind Aaron. But when Bonds got to 500, he became the greatest slugger of his era, if not all time. Since then, he has set a variety of home run records, including the single-season mark with 73, the record for the most consecutive seasons (13) with 30 home runs and the most home runs after turning 35.

With no signs of slowing down, Bonds has more records to break. He seems destined to break Ted Williams' record for the most homers (29) in a season by a player who was 40 years old for the entire season. And he seems poised to break Carlton Fisk's record for most home runs (72) after the age of 40. If so, he will break the most important record: 755.

Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to Baseball Tonight. E-mail tim.kurkjian@espnmag.com.