Bonds gives contest winners a big thrill

Bonds gives contest winners a big thrill

SAN FRANCISCO -- Four lucky Giants fans earned the opportunity to meet Barry Bonds and did so on the field behind home plate prior to Friday night's game against the Dodgers at AT&T Park.

Christine Wertz, the initial winner of the 2007 Barry Bonds Meet & Greet contest, was picked at random from entries at the left-handed slugger's Web site, She brought along her husband, Larry -- a lifelong Giants fan -- her 16-year-old daughter, Laura, and Vickie Martin, a family friend.

"I never win anything," Christine Wertz told Bonds as he walked over to the group in the wind and cold wearing a black sweatshirt with hood folded over his head.

"Neither do I," Bonds said.

Bonds spent 15 minutes chatting with the foursome from Walnut Creek, Calif., exchanging family stories and talking about his kids.

"I was fortunate enough to meet your dad back in 1974," Larry Wertz told Bonds, referring to his late father, Bobby, the former Giants center fielder, who passed away in 2003. "He was my favorite player."

Bonds presented Laura Wertz, a junior at College Park High School in Pleasant Hills, Calif., with a souvenir bat from his own collection, the famous Bonds signature sketched across the black barrel of the bat in gold leaf.

Christine Wertz said she had registered online for the contest on Thursday and was shocked to receive a call from one of Bonds' representatives.

"It's like buying a lottery ticket at the last minute," she said. "Actually, I did that last week, but I didn't get this lucky."

Bonds is in his 22nd season -- the last 15 playing for the Giants -- and with 735 career homers is just 20 shy of Hank Aaron, who holds the Major League Baseball record at 755.

It made meeting Bonds this year that much more special, Larry Wertz said.

"We'd love to be here to see him break the record," he said. "Can he hit all of them tonight?"

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.