Wed, Aug 01, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Hank Aaron stays quiet about Bonds' home run pursuit

AP , SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

Nowhere near the Barry Bonds chase, Hank Aaron insists his silence speaks for itself.

Aaron has declined all along to be drawn into a debate about Bonds' worthiness to surpass him as US Major League Baseball's career home run champion.

"I am making a comment by not making a comment," Aaron said.

At an airport news conference, Aaron instead wanted to talk about the World Children's Baseball Fair, a charity he co-founded that will hold its annual series of clinics this week in Puerto Rico.

"We started this many, many years ago and it has done magnificently," he said.

Aaron plans to be on the island through Saturday. By that time, his record of 755 home runs may be broken by Bonds.

Bonds had 754 homers going into last night's game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Aaron previously said he would not be in attendance when the San Francisco star overtook him, saying he did not want to travel around the country for the pursuit.

Bonds' chase has been dogged by suspicions of steroids use. Aaron has not commented on those allegations.

Dressed in a blue guayabera shirt, the 73-year-old Aaron spoke about his time as an infielder for the Caguas Criollos of the Puerto Rican league in the mid-1950s.

"I wouldn't have gotten to the big leagues as quickly if I hadn't played in Puerto Rico," he said.

Founded in 1989, the World Children's Baseball Fair was conceived by Aaron and Japan's home run king, Sadaharu Oh, to promote goodwill around the world.

About 180 boys and girls from about 20 countries will attend this year's event.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for today at the Roberto Clemente Stadium, named for the late Puerto Rican baseball great.

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