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Padres Fan Catches Bonds' Home Run Ball

A self-proclaimed San Diego Padres fan scooped up Barry Bonds' record-tying home run ball by standing behind the scrum of fans diving for a piece of history.

"I'm pretty ecstatic," said Adam Hughes, a 33-year-old plumber from suburban La Jolla. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

Did he ever.

Bonds hit No. 755 Saturday night, tying him with Hank Aaron as baseball's most prolific home run hitter. He sent a fastball from San Diego's Clay Hensley the opposite way into the lower left-field seats at Petco Park to lead off the second inning.

"I was kind of rooting for it," Hughes said. "As Barry Bonds said, records are made to be broken. It was quite an accomplishment."

The ball clanged off an advertising sign attached to the upper deck and fell into the seats below.

"I saw it hit above me and came down on the ground," a still dazed Hughes said. "I was at the back of the pile. I pretty much jumped up and said, 'I got it!"'

The ball traveled an estimated 382 feet in the direction of Hughes, who was in the front row with his cousin Justin Marquardt. They got the tickets through Hughes' mother, who bought them from a friend.

The specially marked ball was immediately authenticated by major league officials.

Bonds and Hughes didn't speak when they crossed paths at a post-game news conference.

"He's probably anxious to go out and celebrate with his family," Hughes said.

And Hughes' plans?

"Just go home and lay awake for hours thinking, 'Why me? How did I get so lucky?"'

(AP Photo/ Kevork Djansezian)
Bonds' homer drew a mixed reaction from the San Diego crowd. Several fans held up asterisk signs — believing Bonds' record should be considered conditional — and the San Francisco slugger was booed as he headed to left field at the end of the inning.

Speaking about his own performance, the San Francisco slugger said, "The hard part is over right now."

"This is the hardest thing I've had to do in my entire career," he said. "I had rashes on my head, I felt like I was getting sick at times."

High above the field in a private box, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was a reluctant witness to history. Choosing to overlook the steroid allegations that have dogged Bonds, Selig watched with hands stuffed in pockets and nary a cheer on his lips.

"No matter what anybody thinks of the controversy surrounding this event, Mr. Bonds' achievement is noteworthy and remarkable," Selig said in a statement.

Hank Aaron was not in attendance. The Hall of Famer is not following the chase in person.

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