Marc Ecko donated the historic Bonds’ ball to Cooperstown Hall of Fame and Museum in New York.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York is a sacred shrine to the sport of baseball. Every baseball player wants a place in this worshiped oracle.
In Panama we are lucky to have one inductee in this singular place. His name is Rodney Cline “Rod” Carew. He was born to a Panamanian mother on a train in the town of Gatún, which, at that time, was in the then Panama Canal Zone.
The train was racially segregated; white passengers were given the better forward cars, while non-whites, like Carew’s mother, were forced to ride in the rearward cars. When she went into labor, a Jewish physician traveling on the train, Dr. Rodney Cline, delivered the baby, who was named Rodney Cline Carew in appreciation.
Another Panamanian player who is headed to Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame is Mariano Rivera, also known as Mo. He is currently breaking records with the New York Yankees. Many people within baseball argue that Rivera is the greatest postseason relief pitcher and the greatest closer in baseball history.
Sorry about the digression, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation of writing about Rod Carew and Mariano Rivera. They are both idols in this neck of the woods.
What I really wanted to talk about in this blog; is that now branded with an asterisk, the ball Barry Bonds launched for his record 756th home run nearly a year ago landed last Tuesday night, July 1st in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
A driver walked up the front steps of the Hall, handing over the ball and a letter from Ecko saying it was an unconditional donation. The ball will be displayed after the museum documents it—that process usually takes weeks, rather than months.
Ecko paid $752,467 for the prize in an online auction in September. Soon after, he asked fans to vote in an Internet poll on what he should do with the ball.
The winner: Brand it with an asterisk, to reflect the steroid allegations surrounding Bonds, and give it to the Hall. The ball indeed was marked, with the five-pronged asterisk dye-cut into the cowhide, from stitch-to-stitch where “Major League Baseball” is printed.
Bonds called Ecko an “idiot” when the designer announced plans to hold the vote. The slugger later said he would boycott the Hall if it displayed the ball with an asterisk. Bonds donated the batting helmets he wore when he hit his 755th and 756th home runs.
Bonds finished the season with 762 home runs. The San Francisco Giants did not offer him a contract for this year, and he hasn’t gotten an offer to play for another team. He is currently unemployed.
IMHO, it was a blasphemy on behalf of Marck Ecko to brand the ball with an asterisk before donating it to the Hall of Fame. Barry Bond should be presumed innocent until proven guilty by the U.S. judicial system.