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October 14, 2011

Friday Five: The "Bartman Ball"

How much would you pay for a foul ball hit by Luis Castillo on October 14, 2003?

What if that ball bounced off the waiting hands of one Steve Bartman and led to what, some call, the greatest collapse in postseason history?

The answer...$113,824.16.

The ball was snatched up by Chicago lawyer Grant DePorter and sold at an auction in December 2003.  On February 26, 2004, it was publicly detonated.

Here are the five most valuable baseballs in baseball history.

Mark McGwire's 70th Home Run
Date Hit:  September 27, 1998
Significance:  Set the then single-season home run record.
Snagged by:  Phil Ozersky
Sold to:  Todd McFarlane

Comic book artist McFarlane paid $3,005,000 for it at a Guernsey's auction in January 1999. Ozersky got $2.7 million after the auction commission. He bought three houses, went to the Super Bowl, and gave $250,000 to charities.

Babe Ruth's 1933 All-Star Game Home Run
Date Hit:  July 6, 1933
Significance:  First homer hit in All-Star Game history.
Snagged by:  Earl Brown
Sold to:  Anonymous

In July 2006, the baseball went on the block at Hunt Auctions All-Star Fanfest auction held in Pittsburgh. The lot included Brown's ticket stub to the game, a newspaper box score and summary of what happened, a notarized letter from Brown's wife and the home run baseball. The final bid for the baseball and accompanying items was $700,000. A 15% buyer's premium sent the final price to $805,000.

Barry Bonds's 700th Career Home Run
Date Hit:  September 17, 2004
Significance:  Bonds became the third player to reach the milestone.
Snagged by:  Steve Williams
Sold to:  Anonymous

In October 2004, an unidentified bidder paid $804,129 to for the ball. Williams plans to donate a portion of his auction proceeds to two charities: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco, a counseling and treatment center for at-risk children.

Barry Bonds's 756th Career Home Run
Date Hit:  August 7, 2007
Significance:  Broke the all-time home run record.
Snagged by:  Matt Murphy
Sold to:  Marc Ecko

After wanting to keep the call, Murphy eventually decided to sell the ball because he couldn't afford to pay the taxes required to keep it. It went to auction with SCP Auctions and sold for $752,467.

The winning bidder was Ecko, who asked the public to vote on what he should do with the ball.  "The public chose to send the ball to the Hall of Fame with an asterisk, as a constant reminder of this unforgettable moment in sports history and popular culture," the fashion designer said.  "You might say it's defacing. Others might say that it's validating the way most people feel about the ball."

Hank Aaron's 755th Career Home Run
Date Hit:  July 20, 1976
Significance:  Final home run of the former career home run leader.
Snagged by:  Richard Arndt
Sold to:  Andrew Knuth

Arndt would keep the ball in a safety deposit box for over 20 years before finally selling it at auction in 1999 for $650,000 to, a money manager from Westport, Connecticut. 

***A big thanks to Zack Hample and the gang at for the assist.***

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