<
>

Aaron mum on if Selig should attend any Bonds ceremony

MILWAUKEE -- Hank Aaron wants no part of Barry Bonds.

With Bonds closing in on the career home run record, Aaron
attended a news conference Thursday at the spot where his 755th and
final home run landed in 1976.

"I don't have any thoughts about Barry. I don't even know how
to spell his name," Aaron said briskly, then added a laugh.

Aaron was curt when asked whether baseball commissioner Bud
Selig invited him to attend any celebrations for Bonds, should he
break the record. Selig and Aaron are longtime friends.

"I've not spoken to him at all," Aaron said. "That's his
decision and I'm sure he'll make the right one."

Aaron hit his 715th home run in 1974 to break Babe Ruth's record
and hit his final home run July 20, 1976, at County Stadium. It
landed in what is now a parking lot outside Miller Park.

Aaron, currently a senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves,
took only a few questions from reporters as a handful of fans stood
nearby. Dressed in a tan shirt and brown slacks, Aaron struggled to
hear questions amid blustery winds. And when he did hear them, he
didn't have much to say, although he became a bit more chatty when
asked about his last home run.

"You know, when you reach your career like this and when you
get to the end, you never know when this is going to be the last
one," he said. "And I'm just so happy I was able to hit it here
in Milwaukee because I don't think, had it been hit on the road,
there'd be a plaque somewhere."

Bonds began Thursday with 746 homers but just one since May 8.
Aaron has said he won't attend any of Bonds' games as the San
Francisco Giants star approaches his record.

Selig won't say whether he plans to attend.

Aaron said he was touched that there would be a permanent marker
to commemorate his final home run.

Finding the spot wasn't easy, said Alan J. Horowitz, a professor
of civil engineering at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Aaron's
shot flew into the grandstand of County Stadium and deflected off
the hands of a fan in the crowd of 10,134. Horowitz and his team of
students calculated the exact spot where the fan first touched the
ball, reviewing over film footage and construction plans to make
the final determination.

Aaron's 363-foot drive off Angels pitcher Dick Drago came in the
seventh inning of a 6-2 Brewers' win. The ball sailed over the
left-field wall and landed in the grandstand along the left-field
foul pole. The ball later was recovered by a groundskeeper.

Aaron's two-out, solo shot put Milwaukee ahead 5-1. He was given
a framed copy of the plaque.

"I never dreamt that I would ever come back here after 30 some
years and find the spot that the home run landed," he said.