Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bonds Hits Number 756 to Move Past Aaron. Lucky Fan from Queens Ends Up With the Ball.

By now, everybody has heard that Barry Bonds hit career homer number 756 last night as the Giants lost to the Washington Nationals at Lefty O'Doul Stadium. But this post is more about the lucky fan who caught the ball, and what he went through to keep it. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- With the crack of the bat a brief stillness settled over the right-center field bleachers at AT&T Park as Barry Bonds' record-breaking homer rocketed toward the crowd.

Then the scrum was on.

As the specially marked baseball landed a few rows up in the fifth inning Tuesday night, dozens of fans wrestled for it and the promise of riches it carried. Suddenly, the metal bleachers vibrated with energy. Grunts, cheers and the cries of frightened children broke the silence as parents sought to shield their youngsters from the chaos.

In the middle of it all was 22-year-old New Yorker Matt Murphy, who emerged from beneath the pile holding the ball Bonds hit for career home run No. 756. His face was bloodied and his clothes stretched and torn from his battle in the bleachers.

A team of San Francisco police officers moved in, extracted Murphy from the crowd, and quickly led him through a tunnel and into a secure room.

As he high-fived other fans, Murphy, wearing a New York Mets
jersey and cap, slid the ball into the back pocket of his plaid Bermuda shorts. Reporters screamed questions, but all he managed to say was, "I'm Matt Murphy from Queens, N.Y."

Murphy and a friend were en route to Australia and in San Francisco for a one-day layover, a Giants spokesman said. They purchased tickets just before the game. Murphy declined to make himself available to the media.

Baseball memorabilia experts have pegged the ball's value at $400,000 to $500,000. That's well below the $3.3 million fetched by Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball in 1998.

Unbelievable. How on earth were tickets still available for this game, and how much did these guys pay to purchase them? Hell, when the Giants were in town to play the Red Sox in mid-June everyone already knew that every ticket had been snatched up (Barry hit his 14th of the year, number 748 overall in the last game of the series), and some of those were going for $2,000.00! But if these guys can afford the air fare to Australia ($5,300, round-trip back in January 2005 for my trip), then a little extra cash to have a chance to see history being made was probably not an issue.

Congratulations to Mr. Murphy, and to Mr. Bonds. Barry, you are still 112 homers shy of the all-time professional home run leader, Sadaharu Oh who clubbed 868 for the Tokyo Giants from 1959-1980.

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