Asterisk and all the ball Barry Bonds launched for his record-breaking 756th home run will, indeed, land in the Hall of Fame. The Hall said earlier on Tuesday that recent talks with fashion designer Marc Ecko, who bought the souvenir for more than $750,000 last September, had "unfortunately reached an impasse." However, by Tuesday night, the ball was in the Hall's possession.
“We are very happy to receive the baseball as a donation, and not as a loan,” Hall spokesman Brad Horn said. “We look forward to adding this ball to our permanent collections.”
Earlier in the day, the Hall announced the following statement:
"The owner's previous commitment to unconditionally donate the baseball has changed to a loan. As a result, the Hall of Fame will not be able to accept the baseball," the Hall said in a statement. "Should the owner choose to unconditionally donate the ball to the museum at a future date, we would be delighted and of course, accept his offer," it said.
After the Hall's initial comments, Ecko responded with the following:
"I am surprised that the Hall issued a statement that said they would no longer accept the Barry Bonds' 756th home run baseball. We had been in communication with them just this morning and the Hall did not mention that they would change their position and no longer accept the ball," he said. "Based on the Hall of Fame's previous statements that they would both accept and display the ball, the only open issue we were talking about was the Hall's recent indication of discomfort in displaying it and addressing the controversy surrounding the record."
Nearly all of the Hall's 35,000-plus artifacts were presented on a permanent basis. The shrine does make exceptions, especially when it has nothing else to illustrate a story – Willie Mays loaned the glove he used to make his famous, over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series. Bonds donated the batting helmets he wore when he hit his 755th and 756th home runs last August, breaking Hank Aaron's career record.
Ecko bought the 756 ball a month later in an online auction for $752,467, exceeding most expectations.
With some claiming the record was tainted because of steroid allegations against Bonds, Ecko set up a Web site to let people vote on three options for the prize: give it straight to the Hall, mark it with an asterisk before sending it to Cooperstown or shoot it into space on a rocket ship.
In late September, Ecko said 10 million votes were recorded and that 47 percent favored adding an asterisk, 34 percent wanted it sent to the Hall and 19 percent picked outer space.
At the time, Ecko said the Hall's "curatorial staff is working with us to carry out the popular vote while preserving the ball. Being in the Hall of Fame will ensure that future generations can read about, reflect on and keep the discourse of this moment alive."
The Hall held many internal discussions and consulted with several prominent museums before deciding it would accept the marked ball.
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.