by Surf Maui
Barry Bonds–Part Two (The Day That SM Met the Greatest Hitter of All Time)
SM’s favorite (and at least to me) most valuable Barry Bonds memorabilia item is SM’s picture with Mr. Bonds. It was taken in Maui at Longhi’s Restaurant in Wailea, on January 13, 2014 at 12:16 p.m. (HST), two days after SM’s birthday. (Alexander Hamilton’s birthday is the same date as SM –but NOT the same year–for those of you Hamilton or ten-dollar bill fans.) Since we may have many weeks of posts to fill on TWG, before going on to some more Bonds and other cool items in my next Museum post, here is the story of how SM met Barry Bonds.
In Maui there are very few steakhouses, so SM eats regularly at Ruth’s Chris in the Shops of Wailea. (Yes, for those few interested, it is the same restaurant where George Brett threatened to beat up SM years before.) A year earlier, in 2013, at about the same time of year (I remembered because it was around my birthday), Steve, one of the waiters with whom I routinely discussed baseball and knew that I was a Giants fan, told me that I had just missed seeing Barry Bonds who had eaten dinner there that night. SM was very disappointed, though I don’t know if I would have approached him any way.
Fast forward to almost exactly a year later. I was coming back from the men’s room (I know, TMI) to the bar at Ruth’s Chris when lo and behold there was Barry Bonds in a group of people sitting in a booth closest to the bar. (BTW, for all of you etymology fans, the phrase “lo and behold” originated in Middle English as a shortened version of “look and behold” in order to express surprise.) SM was obviously very excited, but since Barry was eating dinner, I certainly wasn’t going to bother him, much as I would have liked to do so. However, while passing his table I summoned up the courage to say, “Mr. Bonds, I don’t want to interrupt your dinner, but I just wanted to let you know what a big fan of yours I am.” He nodded graciously and that was that–or so I thought.
The next morning after surfing I was eating a lengthy late breakfast and making some work calls at my regular daily table (referred to as “my office”) at Longhi’s restaurant right near the entrance, when again, lo and behold, in walked Barry Bonds alone, apparently waiting for someone to join him for lunch. He noticed me sitting there, and clearly recognized me from the night before. Perhaps because I refrained from bugging him, Barry motioned for me to come over, and that’s what I did. I told him what a thrill it was to meet him because I “ have been a Giants fan my whole life.” He instantly responded “So have I!”
Fortunately, his companion was late, so we talked for about 20 minutes about some of the games and memorable home runs that he had hit, or plays that he, his dad, or Willie Mays had made. His knowledge of particular games was encyclopedic. I was especially interested in his memory– down to the pitch he hit, and pitcher he hit it off for a walk-off home run in a game on his birthday in 2003. (I’ll include discussion of that game in another post when we go through my 25 years of scorebooks)
I can’t speak to how Barry Bonds acted in other situations, and it is widely reported obviously that he had a reputation for being a jerk. However, in my twenty minutes with Mr. Bonds he could not have been more gracious, cordial, or friendly. It was a great thrill. He spent so much time with me that I was concerned that I was wearing out my welcome, so I summoned up my courage and asked if I could get a picture with him. One of the Longhi’s waiters–who had no clue who he was, took it. Here is that picture. It still brings back great memories and one of my most treasured baseball related possessions. In case you may be confused, Barry is the one on the left. By the way the word “Nalu” on SM’s hat means “surf” in Hawaiian.
See you next time on the virtual Surf Maui Museum and Mancave ® tour. In the meantime, stay safe and Go Giants.