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Fan plans to sell Bonds' 700 ball09/18/2004 5:30 AM ET
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Times have changed since Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth each hit their 700th home runs. The milestone balls are certainly worth a lot more. Steven Williams, a 25-year-old from nearby Pacifica, Calif., who said he works for a local mortgage broker, scrambled in the left-field bleachers Sept. 17 and plucked off the concrete the ball that San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds blasted out at SBC Park for his 700th home run. Williams made it clear that he wasn't giving the ball to Bonds or sending it to Cooperstown. "What am I going to do with it? Are you crazy? I'm going to sell this thing," Williams said after the Giants' 4-1 victory over the Padres. Asked how much money he expected to get for the ball, which was specially marked for authenticity by MLB, Williams added: "I have no idea what I'm going to get for it. It's only worth what somebody will pay for it." Here are a couple of yardsticks: When Ruth, then playing for the New York Yankees, hit his 700th homer at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit on July 13, 1934, the Sultan of Swat wanted the ball. A young fan named Lennie Bielski was sitting in the right-field stands and came up with it. He exchanged the memento for an autographed replica ball, a box seat for the remainder of that particular Tigers-Yankees game and $20. Ruth went home happy. When Aaron hit his 700th home run for the Braves on July 22, 1973, at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the drive went five rows over the high wall in left field and was retrieved by an 18-year-old fan, Robert Winborne.
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