Sunday Q&A: Mike Bacsik, record home run surrenderer

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2011 - 12:51 AM

The lefthander gave up home run No. 756 to Barry Bonds four years ago. After walking away from the game, he's back in pro ball now.

Former Nationals lefthander Mike Bacsik.

Photo: Keith Srakocic, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Before August 7, 2007, Mike Bacsik was just another journeyman lefthanded pitcher. Then he threw a 3-2 fastball to Barry Bonds, who deposited it into the right-center field seats at AT&T Park in San Francisco for career home run No. 756. Bacsik, 33, hasn't played in the majors since that season, but this year he caught on with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association. His pitching coach is his father, Mike Sr., a former big leaguer. While in town last week to play the St. Paul Saints, Bacsik chatted with the Star Tribune's Brian Stensaas.

Q After being out of the game so long, why come on with the Cats now?

A Honestly, it was watching that run by the Texas Rangers last year. That really got my blood bubbling to give it one more try. I decided to see how it felt, and in late November I decided I'd keep at it and catch on with an independent team.

Q Is this your last shot?

A I guess we'll see. I don't want to get my hopes too high. I'm feeling good, even though I'm missing some starts [with a shoulder injury]. It's hard to explain, but even though I don't know 90 percent of the guys in this league, there's no other feeling in the world that gives you what pitching does. I missed is so much. I'm training and working to be the best I can again.

Q OK, you knew this interview was going to turn to Barry Bonds at some point.

A I haven't been asked that in a while, actually. It's funny to think that I'll always be that Trivial Pursuit side note that nobody knows. But I'll always be associated with it. There's a lot of scrutiny with the record, and rightfully so. It's not looked upon as this awesome record -- like Hank Aaron or Lou Gehrig's -- even though it is an awesome record. But there's everything behind it that makes people want to ignore it or not recognize it. That's their right, and I have no problem with it.

Q Is Bonds' record tarnished?

A Tarnished, yes. But [it] still should be in the record books, yes. Because here's the deal: There are going to be people who get inducted into the Hall of Fame -- or might already be in the Hall of Fame, I don't know for sure -- that did steroids. They just didn't get caught through a raid or a mail order or through a positive test. And there's going to be guys that don't get into the Hall of Fame -- Bonds, [Roger] Clemens, [Rafael] Palmeiro -- that people will say, "Look, we have evidence they did steroids." Well, throughout that time probably 25 to 30 percent of players were on steroids. That's my guesstimation.

Q Is Barry Bonds a Hall of Famer in your mind?

A Without a doubt. And I think Rafael Palmeiro is a Hall of Famer and Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer. Without a doubt.

Q What goes through your mind when you see highlights of Bonds' record-breaking home run?

A It doesn't seem like it's me. But it is what it is. I got fan mail a few weeks after it. People were saying things like I'll regret throwing him a strike. And I'm like, "Look. It was one home run. I didn't give up 756 of them that day." I wonder if these guys wrote hate mail to the other 500-or-whatever pitchers who gave up home runs to him. I tried to get him out, I was not successful, and a lot of guys can say that.

Q And you doffed your cap to him that night?

A I did. And I also went over to the [Giants] clubhouse before all the media hubbub to congratulate him. I'm not disgraced or embarrassed about it. Hell, I gave up a lot of home runs to lesser players. No matter what you think of the person -- like him, hate him -- the guy had one of the best careers in Major League Baseball and I think you do have to tip your hat to him.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitD. Price (3-3)000
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close