Perceptions of history are slippery

Originally Published: May 29, 2006
By Gary Gillette | ESPN Insider
Barry Bonds has hit home run No. 715, passing "The Sultan of Swat" and taking sole possession of second place on the all-time list. Now he continues his pursuit of Hank Aaron and No. 756 -- the most important record in professional sports.

Congratulations. Sincerely, congratulations. Frankly, the hysteria displayed by both the fans and the media over Bonds' pursuit of the The Babe's and Hammerin' Hank's magical numbers has been truly revolting.

Hank Aaron
AP PhotoHank Aaron also holds the major-league record for RBI (2,297) and was named to 24 All-Star squads.
Regardless of what Bonds has done, regardless of whether he cheated to achieve the record, regardless of whatever performance-enhancing drugs he might have ingested or injected, the past few weeks have been as close to a witch hunt as America has seen since Salem, Mass., was a member of the colonial big leagues in the 17th century.

Gary Gillette | email MLB insider contributor
Gary Gillette, a contributor to MLB Insider on, is the editor of the 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, which was published in March by Sterling. Gary can be reached via e-mail at