‘There’s no such thing as an asterisk in baseball’

NEW YORK — Barry Bonds would boycott Cooperstown if the Hall of Fame displays his record-breaking home run ball with an asterisk.

That includes skipping his potential induction ceremony.

“I won’t go. I won’t be part of it,” Bonds said in an interview with MSNBC that aired Thursday night. “You can call me, but I won’t be there.”

The ball Bonds hit for home run No. 756 this season will be branded with an asterisk and sent to the Hall. Fashion designer Marc Ecko bought the ball in an online auction and set up a Web site for fans to vote on its fate. In late September, he announced fans voted to send the ball to Cooperstown with an asterisk.

Of course, the asterisk suggests Bonds’ record is tainted by alleged steroid use. The slugger has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Fans brought signs with asterisks to ballparks this season as he neared Hank Aaron’s career home run mark.

Bonds has called Ecko “an idiot.”

“I don’t think you can put an asterisk in the game of baseball, and I don’t think that the Hall of Fame can accept an asterisk,” Bonds said. “You cannot give people the freedom, the right to alter history. You can’t do it. There’s no such thing as an asterisk in baseball.”

Hall of Fame vice president Jeff Idelson declined to comment Thursday night.

Hall president Dale Petroskey has said accepting the ball doesn’t mean the museum endorses the viewpoint that Bonds used illegal substances. He said the museum would be “delighted” to have the ball.

“It’s a historic piece of baseball history,” Petroskey said in September.

So, if the Hall goes through with the asterisk display?

“I will never be in the Hall of Fame. Never,” Bonds said. “Barry Bonds will not be there.

“That’s my emotions now. That’s how I feel now. When I decide to retire five years from now, we’ll see where they are at that moment,” he added. “We’ll see where they are at that time, and maybe I’ll reconsider. But it’s their position and where their position will be will be the determination of what my decision will be at that time.”

Giants general manager Brian Sabean reiterated Thursday that the team won’t bring back Bonds next season. The seven-time NL MVP, who has spent 15 of his 22 major league seasons in San Francisco, was asked whether he will retire as a Giant.

“Yeah, it’s my house. No matter what that’s my house, no one’s going to take that away, no one ever,” Bonds answered. “No one’s going to take the love of that city of me away, ever.”

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