10 years ago today: Barry Bonds hits three homers, giving him 20

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May 19, 2001

Barry Bonds hits three solo homers as part of a 6-3 win over the Braves, giving him 20 homers through the Giants’ first 42 games.

Bonds went on to hit a major league record 73 homers in 2001 to win the fourth of his seven NL MVP awards.

Even though he was on such a tear right from the start of the season, Bonds only moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with the outburst. Luis Gonzalez already had 20 on his way to hitting 57 that season.

It was Bonds’ second three-homer game, the first coming seven years earlier. He had another three-homer game on Sept. 9, 2001 and one last one on Aug. 27, 2002. While Bonds is the career leader in homers, he’s tied for seventh in his number of three-homer games. Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa had six apiece, while Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Dave Kingman and Mark McGwire all had five.

Also having multihomer games on May 19, 2001 were the Dodgers’ Shawn Green (Nos. 9 & 10 of the year) and the Tigers’ Damion Easley (Nos. 3 & 4). J.D. Drew hit his 16th homer for the Cardinals, while Alex Rodriguez hit No. 15 in his first season for the Rangers. The long forgotten Mark Quinn hit his 10th for Kansas City. He was just about on pace for a 40-homer season then, but he’d be out of the league barely a year later.

That’s 2001 for you.

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.