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 DENVER (AP) -Barry Bonds heard the stories of discrimination from his late father, Bobby.
So when the San Francisco Giants' slugger had a chance to wear No. 42 on Monday night to pay tribute to Jackie Robinson, Bonds felt as though it was the least he could do.
``He means a lot to all of us,'' Bonds said. ``To me, Jackie Robinson really changed baseball as a whole.''
Bonds was one of five San Francisco players and coaches to wear Robinson's number against the Colorado Rockies. The Giants didn't get the opportunity Sunday - the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut - because their game in Pittsburgh was rained out.
Bonds recounted a story about his father living and playing in the minors in North Carolina.
``It was normally $80 a month rent,'' Bonds said. ``For the black athletes, it was $80 per person. My mom had to go back home with us because my dad couldn't afford it.
``We want to show our appreciation to Jackie.''
Bonds said he can feel himself returning to the player he was in 2004 when he hit .362 and had 45 home runs. His knees are finally allowing it.
``I went through two years of just agony,'' he said. ``Now, it's trying to recapture something that I was able to do 2 1/2 years ago. Try to get myself back in that type of playing form and recapture the things I was doing not only for the team but myself on an everyday basis.''
His swing is coming around. Bonds hit two home runs against Pittsburgh on Friday night and is 19 shy of breaking Hank Aaron's hallowed record.
He almost had another against Colorado on Monday night when his line drive to right hit just below the yellow line on the wall.
Bonds doesn't want to talk about what baseball might do for him when or if the record falls.
``I think the media is blowing it all out of proportion,'' Bonds said. ``I'm going to do my job with the team. This year I've pretty much tried to stay away from me. I don't even want to talk about me.''
When he was asked if it would bother him should Aaron not attend his record-breaking homer, Bonds chastised reporters for even making it an issue.
``To me it's a tragedy this is the way the press is doing it,'' Bonds said. ``I have the utmost respect for Hank Aaron. Hank is a great ballplayer, he's the home run king. I have nothing but love for Hank Aaron. He's one of my mentors.''
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy didn't know what to expect from the cantankerous Bonds when he took over this season.
``He's been great,'' Bochy said. ``I'm excited to be on the same side as Barry. We know what Barry means to our club and our offense.''
Especially a healthy Bonds.
``I just feel better,'' he said. ``I feel a lot quicker and I move around a lot better.''
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