The pitcher who surrendered Barry Bonds’ 756th home run is a collector himself.
Mike Bacsik’s father was a big league pitcher who once faced Hank Aaron in the latter stages of the Hammer’s long career. The younger Bacsik is now linked forever to one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.
"I didn’t really want to be part of history as a bad part but I am," Bacsik said.
Yet the fact that he gave up #756 isn’t forcing him into a cocoon. Rather, he’s embracing the moment as only a collector and fan could appreciate. Bacsik’s favorite piece had been an autographed Ken Griffey Jr. jersey he secured directly from the Reds’ outfielder not long ago. After getting a personally autographed bat from Barry Bonds, that jersey might be #2 on his list.
Bacsik understands the place he’ll have in the game because of the homer and his agent might want to give another wrong place/wrong time hurler a call to set up some post-season opportunities.
"Me and Al Downing can do card shows together and sign famous autographs for being the guy," he said.
Downing gave up Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run 33 years ago. Downing won 123 games and pitched in three World Series in a 17-year career, but most people only know him for the one pitch he threw to Aaron on April 8, 1974.
Bacsik’s father, Mike, spent five years pitching in the major leagues and once faced Aaron, when Aaron had 755 home runs. "If my dad would have been gracious enough to let Hank Aaron hit a home run, we’d both have given up 756," Bacsik said.