(born July 24, 1964, Riverside, Calif.) U.S. baseball player. Bonds was a college All-American at Arizona State University. A left-handed power hitter and a superb base stealer, he played outfield for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1985–92) and the San Francisco Giants (from 1993). By the early 21st century, he had earned eight Gold Glove awards for fielding and had been named Most Valuable Player six times. In 2001 he hit 73 home runs, breaking Mark McGwire's single-season record of 70; that year he also had 177 walks to top Babe Ruth's record (170). In 2007 Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record (755). His father, Bobby Bonds (1946–2003), was also an outstanding professional baseball player.
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Barry Lamar Bonds (born July 24, 1964) is a Major League Baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds, the godson of Hall of Famer Willie Mays, the nephew of 1964 Olympian Rosie Bonds, and a distant cousin of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. He debuted in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986 and joined the San Francisco Giants in 1993, where he stayed through 2007. Bonds filed for free agency following the 2007 World Series.
Bonds' accomplishments place him among the greatest baseball players of all-time. He has a record-setting seven Most Valuable Player awards, including a record-setting four consecutive MVPs. He is a fourteen time All-star, eight time gold glove-winner and he holds numerous Major League Baseball records. He currently holds the all-time Major League Baseball home run record with 762, and is also the all-time career leader in both walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688). He holds numerous other records, including the single-season Major League record for home runs (73), set in .
Since 2003, Bonds has been a key figure in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) scandal. He was under investigation by a federal grand jury regarding his testimony in the BALCO case, and was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges on November 15, 2007. The indictment alleges that Bonds lied while under oath about his alleged use of steroids.
Born in , Bonds grew up in and attended Junípero Serra High School in and excelled in baseball, basketball and football. As a freshman, he spent the baseball season on the JV team. The next three years—1980 to 1982—he starred on the varsity team. He batted for a .467 batting average his senior year, and was honored as a prep All-American. The Giants drafted Bonds in the second round of the 1982 MLB draft as a high school senior, but the Giants and Bonds were unable to agree on contract terms, so Bonds instead decided to attend college.
Bonds attended Arizona State University, hitting .347 with 45 home runs and 175 runs batted in (RBI). In 1984 he batted .360 and had 30 stolen bases. In 1985 he hit 23 home runs with 66 RBIs and a .368 batting average. He was a Sporting News All-American selection that year. He tied the NCAA record with seven consecutive hits in the College World Series as sophomore and was named to All-Time College World Series Team in 1996. He graduated from Arizona State in 1986 with a degree in criminology. During college, he played part of one summer in the amateur Alaska Baseball League with the Alaska Goldpanners.
In 1986, Bonds led National League (NL) rookies with 16 home runs, 48 RBI, 36 stolen bases and 65 walks, but he finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting. He hit 25 home runs in his second season, along with 32 stolen bases and 59 RBIs. Bonds improved in 1988, hitting .283 with 24 home runs. Bonds finished with 19 homers, 58 RBIs, and 14 outfield assists, which was 2nd in NL.
Bonds won his first MVP award in 1990, hitting .301 with 33 home runs and 114 RBIs. His 52 stolen bases were third in the league. He won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. In 1991, Bonds also put up great numbers, hitting 25 homers and driving in 116 runs, and obtained another Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. He finished second to the Atlanta Braves' Terry Pendleton (the NL batting champion) in the MVP voting. The next season, Bonds won his second MVP award. He dominated the NL, hitting .311 with 34 homers and 103 RBIs, and propelling the Pirates to their third straight National League East division title. However, Pittsburgh was defeated by the Braves in a seven-game National League Championship Series. Bonds was involved in the final play of Game 7 of the NLCS, where he fielded a base hit by Francisco Cabrera and attempted to throw out Sid Bream at home plate. But the throw to Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere was late and Bream scored the winning run. For the third consecutive season, the NL East Champion Pirates were denied a trip to the World Series.
In 1993, Bonds left the Pirates to sign a lucrative free agent contract worth a then-record $43.75 million over 6 years with the Giants, with whom his father spent the first 7 years of his career, and with whom his godfather Willie Mays played 22 of his 24 Major League seasons. The deal was at that time the largest in baseball history, in terms of both total value and average annual salary. To honor his father, Bonds switched his jersey number to 25 once he signed with the Giants, as it had been Bobby's number in San Francisco. (His number during most of his stay with the Pirates, 24, was retired in honor of Mays anyway). Bonds hit .336 in 1993, leading the league with 46 home runs and 123 RBI en route to his second consecutive MVP award, and third overall. As good as the Giants were (winning 103 games), the Atlanta Braves won 104 in what some call the last great pennant race (due to the Wild Card being instituted shortly after).
In the strike-shortened season of , Bonds hit .312 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 74 walks, and he finished 4th in MVP voting. In , Bonds hit 33 homers and drove in 104 runs, hitting .294 but finished only 12th in MVP voting.
In , Bonds became the first National League player and second (of the current list of four) major league player(s) to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season. The other members of the 40-40 club are José Canseco—1988, Alex Rodriguez—1998, and Alfonso Soriano—2006; his father Bobby Bonds was one home run short in 1973 when he hit 39 home runs and stole 43 bases. Bonds drove in 129 runs with a .308 average and walked a then-National League record 151 times. During the 1996 season Bonds became the 4th player in history to steal 300 bases and hit 300 home runs for a career, joining Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds in the 300-300 club, but he only finished fifth in the MVP balloting. In Bonds hit .291, his lowest average since 1989. He hit 40 home runs for the second straight year and drove in 101 runs, leading the league in walks again with 145. He tied his father in 1997 for having the most 30/30 seasons, and he again placed fifth in the MVP balloting.
In , he hit .303 with 37 home runs and drove in 122 runs, winning his eighth Gold Glove, and became the first player ever to enter the 400-400 club by having career totals of 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases. With two outs in the 9th inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 28, 1998, Bonds became only the fifth player in baseball history to be given an intentional walk with the bases loaded. Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928) and Bill Nicholson (1944) were three others in the 20th century who received that rare honor; however Abner Dalrymple was the first to receive one in 1881. Bonds finished 8th in the MVP voting.
Bill James ranked Bonds as the best player of the 1990s, adding that the decade's second-best player (Craig Biggio) had been closer in production to the decade's 10th-best player than to Bonds. In 1999, with statistics through 1997 being considered, Bonds ranked Number 34 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, making him the highest-ranking active player. When the Sporting News list was redone in 2005, Bonds was ranked 6th behind Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Henry Aaron. Bonds was omitted from 1999's Major League Baseball All-Century Team, to which Ken Griffey, Jr. was elected. James wrote of Bonds, "Certainly the most unappreciated superstar of my lifetime... Griffey has always been more popular, but Bonds has been a far, far greater player." In 1999, James rated Bonds as the 16th best player of all time. "When people begin to take in all of his accomplishments", James predicted, "Bonds may well be rated among the five greatest players in the history of the game.
In 2000, the following year, Bonds hit .306 with a slugging percentage of .688 (career best at that time) and hit 49 home runs in just 143 games (also a career high to that point), while drawing a league-leading 117 walks.
The next year, Bonds' offensive production reached even higher levels, breaking not only his own personal records but several major league records. In the Giants' first 50 games in 2001, Bonds hit 28 home runs, including 17 in May—a career high. He also hit 39 home runs by the All-star break (a major league record), drew a major league record 177 walks, and had a .515 on-base average, a feat not seen since Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams over forty years earlier. Bonds' slugging percentage was a major league record .863 (411 total bases in 476 at-bats), and, most impressively, he ended the season with a major league record 73 home runs.
Bonds re-signed with the Giants for a five-year, $90 million contract in January 2002. That year, he hit 46 home runs in 403 at-bats. He won the NL batting title with a career-high .370 average and struck out only 47 times. Despite playing in nine fewer games than the previous season, he drew 198 walks, a major-league record, 68 of them intentional. He slugged .799, then the fourth-highest total all time. Bonds broke Ted Williams' major league record for on-base average with .582. Bonds also hit his 600th home run, less than a year and a half after hitting his 500th.
In 2003, Bonds played in just 130 games. He hit 45 home runs in just 390 at-bats, along with a .341 batting average. He slugged .749, walked 148 times, and had an on-base average well over .500 (.529) for the third straight year. He also became the only member of the career 500 home run/500 stolen base club.
In 2004, Bonds had perhaps his best season. He hit .362 en route to his second National League batting title, and broke his own record by walking 232 times. He slugged .812, which was fourth-highest of all time, and broke his on-base percentage record with a .609 average. Bonds passed Mays on the career home run list, hitting his 700th near the end of the season. Bonds hit 45 home runs in 373 at-bats, and struck out just 41 times, putting himself in elite company, as few major leaguers have ever had more home runs than strikeouts in a season. Bonds would win his fourth consecutive MVP award and his seventh overall. His seven MVP awards are four more than any other player in history. In addition, no other player from either league has been awarded the MVP four times in a row. (The MVP award was first given in 1931). On July 4, 2004 he tied and passed Rickey Henderson's career bases on balls record with his 2190th and 2191st career walks..
As Bonds neared Aaron's record, Aaron was called on for his opinion of Bonds. He clarified that he was a fan and admirer of Bonds and avoided the controversy regarding whether the record should be denoted with an asterisk due Bonds' to alleged steroid usage. He felt recognition and respect for the award was something to be determined by the fans. As the steroid controversy received greater media attention during the offseason before the 2005 season, Aaron expressed some reservations about the statements Bonds made on the issue. Aaron expressed that he felt drug and steroid use to boost athletic performance was inappropriate. Aaron was frustrated that the media could not focus on events that occurred in the field of play and wished drugs or gambling allegations such as those associated with Pete Rose could be emphasized less. In 2007, Aaron felt the whole steroid use issue was very controversial and decided that he would not attend any possible record-breaking games. Aaron congratulated Bonds through the media when Bonds broke Aaron's record.
Bonds' salary for the 2005 season was $22 million, the second-highest salary in Major League Baseball (the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez earned the highest, $25.2 million). Bonds endured a knee injury, multiple surgeries, and rehabilitation. He was activated on September 12, 2005, and started in left field. In his return against the San Diego Padres, he nearly hit a home run in his first at-bat. Bonds finished the night 1-for-4. Upon his return, Bonds resumed his high-caliber performance at the plate, hitting home runs in four consecutive games from September 18, 2005 to September 21, 2005 and finishing with five homers in only 14 games.
In 2006, Bonds earned $20 million (not including bonuses), the fourth highest salary in baseball. Through the 2006 season he had earned approximately $172 million during his then 21-year career, making him baseball's all-time highest paid player. Bonds hit under .200 for his first 10 games of the season and did not hit a home run until April 22, 2006. This 10-game stretch was his longest home run slump since the 1998 season. On May 7, 2006, Bonds drew within one home run of tying Babe Ruth for second place on the all time list, hitting his 713th career home run into the second level of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, off pitcher Jon Lieber in an ESPN nationally-televised game in which the Giants lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. The towering home run—one of the longest in Citizens Bank Park's two-season history, traveling an estimated 450 feet (140 m)—hit off the facade of the third deck in right field.
Then, on May 20, 2006, Bonds tied Ruth, hitting his 714th career home run to deep right field to lead off the top of the 2nd inning. The home run came off left-handed pitcher Brad Halsey of the Oakland A's, in an interleague game played in Oakland, California. Since this was an interleague game at an American League stadium, Bonds was batting as the designated hitter in the lineup for the Giants. Bonds was quoted after the game as being "glad it's over with and stated that more attention could be focused on Albert Pujols, who was on a very rapid home run pace in early 2006. On May 28, 2006, Bonds passed Ruth, hitting his 715th career home run to center field off Colorado Rockies pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. The ball was hit an estimated 445 feet (140 m) into center field where it went through the hands of several fans but then fell onto an elevated platform in center field. Then it rolled off the platform where Andrew Morbitzer, a 38-year-old San Francisco resident, caught the ball while he was in line at a concession stand. Mysteriously, radio broadcaster Dave Flemming's radio play-by-play of the home run went silent just as the ball was hit, apparently from a microphone failure. But the televised version, called by Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, was not affected.
On September 22, 2006, Bonds tied Henry Aaron's National League career home run record of 733. The home run came in the top of the 6th inning of a high-scoring game against the Milwaukee Brewers, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The achievement was notable for its occurrence in the very city where Aaron began (with the Milwaukee Braves) and concluded (with the Brewers, then in the American League) his career. With the Giants trailing 10–8, Bonds hit a blast to deep center field on a 2–0 pitch off the Brewers' Chris Spurling with runners on first and second and one out. Though the Giants were at the time clinging to only a slim chance of making the playoffs, Bonds' home run provided the additional drama of giving the Giants an 11–10 lead late in a critical game in the final days of a pennant race. The Brewers eventually won the game, 13–12, despite Bonds' going 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, the record-tying home run, and 6 runs batted in.
On the following day, September 23, 2006, Bonds surpassed Aaron for the NL career home run record. Hit in Milwaukee like the previous one, this was a solo home run off Chris Capuano of the Brewers. This was the last home run Bonds hit in 2006. In 2006, Bonds recorded his lowest slugging percentage (a statistic that he has historically ranked among league leaders season after season) since 1991 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In January 2007, the New York Daily News reported that Bonds had tested positive for amphetamines. Under baseball's amphetamine policy, which had been in effect for one season, players testing positive were to submit to six additional tests and undergo treatment and counseling. The policy also stated that players were not to be identified for a first positive test, but the New York Daily News leaked the test's results. When the Players Association informed Bonds of the test results, he initially attributed it to a substance he had taken from the locker of Giants teammate Mark Sweeney, but would later retract this claim and publicly apologize to Sweeney.
On January 29, 2007, the Giants finalized a contract with Bonds for the 2007 season. After the commissioner's office rejected Bonds's one-year, $15.8 million deal because it contained a personal-appearance provision, the team sent revised documents to his agent, Jeff Borris, who stated that "At this time, Barry is not signing the new documents. Bonds signed a revised one-year, $15.8 million contract on February 15, 2007, and reported to the Giants' Spring Training camp on time.
Bonds resumed his march to the all-time record early in the 2007 season. After an opening game in which all he had was a first-inning single past third base against a right-shifted infield (immediately followed by a stolen base and then a base-running misjudgment that got him thrown out at home) and a deep out to left field late in the game, Bonds returned the next day, April 4, 2007, with another mission. In his first at-bat of the season's second game at the Giants' AT&T Park, Bonds hit a Chris Young (of the San Diego Padres) pitch just over the wall to the left of straightaway center field for career home run 735. This home run put Bonds past the midway point between Ruth and Aaron.
Bonds did not homer again until April 13, 2007 when he hit two (736 and 737) in a 3 for 3 night that included 4 RBI against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Home runs number 739 and 740 came in back to back games on April 21, 2007 and April 22, 2007 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The hype surrounding Bonds' pursuit of the home run record escalated on May 14, 2007. On this day, Sports Auction for Heritage (a Dallas-based auction house) offered US$1 million to the fan that caught Bonds' record-breaking 756th-career home run. The million dollar offer was rescinded on June 11, 2007 out of concern of fan safety. On that same day, Bonds launched home run 747, ending the relative drought of the previous month. This one came off Josh Towers of the Toronto Blue Jays, and landed in AT&T Park's right center field stands. His next home run, 748, came on Father's Day, June 17, 2007, in the final game of a 3-game road series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, where Bonds had never previously played. With this homer, Fenway Park became the 36th major league ballpark in which Bonds had hit a home run. He hit a Tim Wakefield knuckleball just over the low fence into the Giant's bullpen in right field. It was his first home run off his former Pittsburgh Pirate teammate, who became the 441st different pitcher to surrender a four-bagger to Bonds. The 750th career home run, hit on June 29, 2007, also came off a former teammate: Liván Hernández. The blast came in the 8th inning and at that point tied the game at 3–3.
On July 19, 2007, after a 21 at-bat hitless streak, Bonds hit 2 home runs, numbers 752 and 753 against the Chicago Cubs. He went 3–3 with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and a walk on that day. The struggling last place Giants still lost the game 9–8. On July 27, 2007, Bonds hit home run 754 against Florida Marlins pitcher Rick VandenHurk. Bonds was then walked his next 4 at bats in the game, but 2-run shot helped the Giants win the game 12–10. It marked the first game Bonds had homered in that the Giants won since he had hit #747. On August 4, 2007, Bonds hit a 382 foot (116 m) home run against Clay Hensley of the San Diego Padres for home run number 755, tying Hank Aaron's all-time record. Bonds greeted his son, Nikolai, with an extended bear hug after crossing home plate. Bonds greeted his teammates and then his wife, Liz Watson, and daughter Aisha Lynn behind the backstop. Hensley was the 445th different pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds. Ironically, given the cloud of suspicion that surrounded Bonds, the tying home run was hit off a pitcher who'd been suspended by baseball in 2005 for steroid use. He was walked in his next at bat and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.
On August 7, 2007 at 8:51 PM PDT, Bonds hit a 435 foot (133 m) home run, his 756th, off a pitch from Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals, breaking the all-time career home run record, formerly held by Hank Aaron. Coincidentally, Bacsik's father had faced Aaron (as a pitcher for the Texas Rangers) after Aaron had hit his 755th home run. On August 23, 1976, Michael J. Bacsik held Aaron to a single and a fly out to right field. The younger Bacsik commented later, "If my dad had been gracious enough to let Hank Aaron hit a home run, we both would have given up 756. After hitting the home run, Bonds gave Bacsik an autographed bat.
The pitch, the seventh of the at-bat, was a 3–2 pitch which Bonds hit into the right-center field bleachers. The fan who ended up with the ball, 22-year-old Matt Murphy from Queens, New York (and a Met fan), was promptly protected and escorted away from the mayhem by a group of San Francisco police officers. After Bonds finished his home run trot, a ten-minute delay followed, including a brief video by Aaron congratulating Bonds on breaking the record Aaron had held for 33 years, and expressing the hope that "the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams." Bonds made an impromptu emotional statement on the field, with Willie Mays, his godfather, at his side and thanked his teammates, family and his late father. Bonds sat out the rest of the game and was replaced in left field.
The commissioner, Bud Selig, was not in attendance in this game but was represented by the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Jimmie Lee Solomon. Selig called Bonds later that night to congratulate him on breaking the record. President George W. Bush also called Bonds the next day to congratulate him. On August 24, 2007, San Francisco honored and celebrated Bonds' career accomplishments and breaking the home run record with a large rally in Justin Herman Plaza. The rally included video messages from Lou Brock, Ernie Banks, Ozzie Smith, Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan. Speeches were made by Willie Mays, Giants teammates Omar Vizquel and Rich Aurilia, and Giants owner Peter Magowan. Mayor Gavin Newsom presented Bonds the key to the City and County of San Francisco and Giants vice president Larry Baer gave Bonds the home plate he touched after hitting his 756th career home run.
The record-setting ball was consigned to an auction house on August 21, 2007, and sold with a winning bid of USD$752,467 on September 15, 2007. The high bidder, fashion designer Marc Ecko, created a website to let fans decide its fate. Ben Padnos, who submitted the (US) $186,750 winning bid on Bonds' record-tying 755th home run ball also set up a website to let fans decide its fate. Of Ecko's plans, Bonds said "He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid.
Bonds concluded the 2007 season with a .276 batting average, 28 home runs, and 66 RBIs in 126 games and 340 at bats. At the age of 43, he led both leagues in walks with 132.
There was much speculation about where Bonds might play in 2008 and possibly beyond. During the offseason, experts suggested nearly a dozen teams as possible destinations. Most talk was of Bonds signing for only the 2008 season as he needs just 65 hits to reach 3,000 and 38 home runs to reach 800. In addition to the hits, Bonds needs 69 more runs scored to move past Rickey Henderson as the all-time runs champion. He needs 38 extra base hits to move past Hank Aaron as the all-time extra base hits champion. Bonds also continues to talk of his quest for a World Series championship as motivation for returning.
Since filing for free agency, Bonds has said he is ready to play and would like to be signed. During the 2008 season, teams said to have been contemplating signing Bonds include the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees. However, as of early September 2008 he had not yet been signed.
During grand jury testimony on December 4, 2003—which was later found to be obtained through an illegal leak by Troy Ellerman, a defense lawyer for Victor Conte, to the San Francisco Chronicle (leaking grand jury testimony is a felony, to which Ellerman pled guilty to on February 14, 2007) and published almost a year later, on December 3, 2004— Bonds said that he used a clear substance and a cream that he received from his personal strength trainer, Greg Anderson, who told him they were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. This testimony, as reported by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, has frequently been misrepresented. Later reports on Bonds's leaked grand-jury testimony contend that he admitted to unknowingly using "the cream" and "the clear".
In July 2005, all four defendants in the BALCO steroid scandal trial, including Anderson, struck deals with federal prosecutors that did not require them to reveal names of athletes who may have used banned drugs.
In March, 2006 the book Game of Shadows, written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada, was released amid a storm of media publicity including the cover of Sports Illustrated. Initially small excerpts of the book were released by the authors in the issue of Sports Illustrated. The book alleges Bonds used stanozolol and a host of other steroids, and is perhaps most responsible for the change in public opinion regarding Bonds' steroid use.
The book contained excerpts of grand jury testimony that is supposed to be sealed and confidential by law. The authors have been steadfast in their refusal to divulge their sources, and at one point faced jail time. On February 14, 2007, Troy Ellerman, one of Victor Conte's lawyers, pled guilty to leaking grand jury testimony. Through the plea agreement, he will spend two and a half years in jail.
On February 14, 2008 a typo in court papers filed by Federal prosecutors erroneously alleged that Bonds tested positive for steroids in November, 2001, a month after hitting his record 73rd home run. The reference was meant instead to refer to a November 2000 test that had already been disclosed and previously reported. The typo sparked a brief media frenzy.
His trial for obstruction of justice is to begin on March 2, 2009. Mr Bonds is not expected to get prison time should he be convicted after a pro cyclist facing similar charges in the case was given house arrest and probation instead of jail time.
Bonds remarried on January 10, 1998 in the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton Hotel in front of 240 guests. Bonds lives in Los Altos Hills, California, with his second wife, Liz Watson, and their daughter Aisha. He also owns a home in the exclusive gated community of Beverly Park in Beverly Hills, CA.
Bonds also had an extensive intimate relationship with Kimberly Bell from 1994 through May, 2003. Bonds purchased a home in for Kimberly.
Bonds has an older brother, Bobby, Jr. who was a professional baseball player. His paternal aunt, Rosie Bonds, is a former American record holder in the 80 meter hurdles, and she competed in the 1964 Olympics. He is a distant cousin of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
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Bonds is the lone member of the 500–500 club, which means he has hit at least 500 home runs (762) and stolen 500 bases (514). He is also one of only four baseball players all-time to be in the 40–40 club (1996), which means he hit 40 home runs (42) and stole 40 bases (40) in the same season.
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