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Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

Bonds home-run ball fetches $220,100

Auction price paid for 715th career homer exceeds experts’ predictions

August 4, 2006

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— Barry Bonds' 715th home run ball fetched a winning auction bid of $220,100 on Thursday, much better than experts predicted for the shot that moved the troubled Giants slugger past Babe Ruth for second place on the career list.

Winning bidder Marc Chase is an exotic car merchant who owns dealerships in La Jolla, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley. The 44-year-old Chase plans to pick up the ball from owner Andrew Morbitzer next week. The ball will then be shown off at his car businesses.

"I didn't think I was going to get it, so I was ecstatic. I was over the top," Chase said. He said the steroid controversy involving Bonds didn't factor into his decision to bid on the ball.

Morbitzer was waiting in line for beer and peanuts May 28 when Bonds hit the historic home run. He said he was elated at the price the ball fetched.

"For standing in line waiting for a beer and something to eat - you can't be unhappy with an amount like that," he said.

For several moments, the ball appeared to be beyond anyone's reach. It sat lodged on an elevated platform in center field, then trickled off the roof. Morbitzer caught the ball with one hand.

Morbitzer, a 38-year-old marketing director, said he planned to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the charity Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America.

Chase is a lifelong Willie Mays fan who visited Candlestick Park as a child and has collected every Mays card ever released. He said he never had bid on high-dollar baseball items until now.

Officials at eBay said Chase has been on the auction site for years but until now has only used it for basic purchases and to periodically sell cars.

Experts predicted that the ball would fetch around $100,000 at auction, far less than the $500,000 some experts say it could have commanded absent the controversy surrounding Bonds and his alleged involvement with steroids.

There were 69 bids on the ball.

Morbitzer said he planned to pay off debts from his wedding last year and then invest the money. He eventually plans to use the money to make a down payment on a home.

"It was a fun day in the sun. We had a fun time with it and now we're both going to go back to our day job," he said.

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