On August 7th Matt Murphy caught Barry Bond’s 756th home run and has become an instant celebrity. The obvious question here is what the 22 year old will do with the ball. It seems obvious that the ball (tainted though it may be) belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. So what do you do if you have something that belongs in the Hall but could fetch $500,000 if sold? Matt’s answer is this: “Ideally, what I would love to happen would be for someone [ie, not me] to buy the ball and donate it to the Hall of Fame. It’s a piece of history and belongs in the Hall.” I guess the idea of donating it himself isn’t an option.
So on the one hand, I totally sympathize with the notion that he should consider donating it to the Hall of Fame.
On the other hand, I must admit, I’m not at all convinced the ball should go to Cooperstown. And totally not because of the drug issue (though that’s another one worth considering), but because what did that ball do to deserve being put in a museum? It happened to be thrown at the right time in the right game. Somewhat lucky, since balls generally only last 7 or so pitches, but I just don’t think that its a good representation of Barry’s accomplishment. Now, his bat (though even that changes a lot I guess), jersey, things he uses more often…. Those are what I think should be in the museum. I don’t care for the 756th baseball he flung out of the park. Its part of the history is just so small.
Interesting point. The Hall of Fame is also very much a museum and has all sorts of memorabilia (and some from people who aren’t in the Hall). I guess my best answer is that all of those things (ball, bat, jersey, syringe–oops!) should be there.
That said, Hand Aaron’s 755th home run ball is now owned by a private party and is in a safety deposit box. It was caught by Milwaukee Brewer’s employee Richard Arndt who was fired because he refused to give it up (he asked to be able to present to Hank Aaron himself and was turned down. When he refused to give it up, he was fired). Arndt later sold it to Andrew Knuth in 1999.
So maybe all these things belong in the Hall.