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Lenny Ignelzi/AP

Bonds’s Ball in the Hall After All

July 02, 2008 10:06 AM
by Josh Katz
Barry Bonds’s 756th home run baseball is now in the Hall of Fame, complete with promised asterisk, arriving hours after the Hall announced that the ball’s owner would not donate it.

30-Second Summary

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Yesterday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum said it had “unfortunately reached an impasse” in its talks with Ecko. According to the Hall, Ecko had previously pledged to donate it, but that “changed to a loan,” and the organization generally only displays memorabilia that is permanently in its possession.

As an exception to that rule, Willie Mays loaned the glove he used to make his storied 1954 World Series basket catch.

But soon after the Hall made its annoucement, Ecko made a statement saying that he was “surprised” by the news. He claimed that “the only ‘open issue’ was whether the Hall would be comfortable displaying the ball,” according to the International Herald Tribune.

Ecko has donated, not loaned, the ball to the Hall of Fame, and an asterisk is laser-engraved into the artifact. Ecko had his personal driver take it to Cooperstown Tuesday night.

Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record and hit his 756th career home run on Aug. 7, 2007, but his achievement was fraught with allegations of steroid use. Matt Murphy from Queens, N.Y., caught the ball and decided to sell it; Ecko then won the online auction in September by purchasing the ball for $752,467.

Ecko asked fans on the Internet what he should do with the baseball. The fans voted to stamp an asterisk on the ball and then send it to the Hall of Fame, over the other two options of giving it to Cooperstown unbranded or blasting it into space.

Bonds called Ecko an “idiot” for his actions, and has said he would “boycott the Hall if it displayed the ball with an asterisk,” according to the Associated Press.

Headline Link: Ecko sends ball to Cooperstown

Background: Bonds’s controversial route to the record

Steroid allegations
Fans hungry for the ball
Bonds hits 756
Ecko lets fans choose fate of ball
Bonds charged with felony, perjury and obstruction of justice

Related Link: ‘Griffey’s 600th Home Run Is Latest Disputed Souvenir’

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