Lucky Fan to Auction Bonds' 756 Ball

Matt Murphy, the Mets fan who nabbed the record home run, will sell No. 756.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:08 AM

Aug. 21, 2007— -- Matt Murphy -- the Mets-jersey-wearing kid from Queens who wound up with Barry Bonds' home run record-setting ball in San Diego Aug. 7 -- announced today that he will auction off the prized ball.

"Two weeks ago today history was made," Murphy said at a press conference this afternoon in San Francisco. "I was privileged enough to be in house. I was lucky enough to be that guy who caught the ball. Today I am excited to announce that myself along with SCP Auctions will be putting the ball up for sale."

SCP, a partner with the premiere auction house Sotheby's, specializes in high-end sports items and will run an online auction for the ball from Aug. 28 to Sept. 15. Auction officials say the ball is probably worth at least a half million dollars.

Murphy, who bought tickets for the Padres-Giants game along with a Yankees fan friend in advance of passing through San Francisco en route to an Australian vacation, eventually decided to sell the ball when it became clear that the cost of keeping it would be too much to bear. Advisers informed him he would be taxed on the ball just for holding on to it.

"I wanted to keep it but I'm young, I don't have the bank account to afford the, uh, financial incurrences that come with keeping this major part of history.I decided to sell the ball because it would cost me a lot more than I have to keep."

Originally, the 21-year-old played coy about the catch, telling NBC's "Today Show" the day after Bonds hit No. 756 that while he would consider selling the memorabilia, he also was leaning toward keeping it.

"It's just too valuable, sentimental," Murphy said at the time, reportedly stashing the prize in a bank safety deposit box.

As one detail of the much-recounted story goes, Murphy and travel partner Amir Kamal presciently offered their taxi driver from the airport to the hotel a piece of the winnings if they were to haul in the Bonds ball before the game. The cabbie passed, instead collecting the $55 fare.

Little did he know that the pair's promise of thousands could be a legitimate offer. And Murphy, who said from the outset he would split any sale-related bootie with Kamal, will now wade into a very uncertain market.

The top-end $500,000 estimate is well below the $3.2 million commanded by St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire's 70th home run baseball, during his record-breaking chase with the Chicago Cubs Sammy Sosa in 1999.

That ball was purchased by Spawn comic book creator Todd McFarlane, who broke all records with the purchase. In 2003, McFarlane also bought Bonds' 73rd home run ball after two men went to court over the artifact and were told by a judge after a two-year standoff to sell the ball and split the proceeds. During the interim, the price of the ball plunged from an estimated $1.5 million to $517,500.

The record-tying ball Bonds hit for home run No. 755 against the San Diego Padres was snagged by Adam Hughes, a 33-year-old plumber who announced that he would auction off the prize.