When Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run in 2007, there was a dogpile in the outfield seats of AT&T Park unlike any other. Bonds had just broke Hank Aaron‘s record for the most home runs in MLB history, and San Francisco Giants fans knew the ball would be worth a whole lot of money. After a few bounces off various seats and eager hands, the ball finally found its way into a lucky victor’s grasp. That one dive into the human pile would soon be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, who was that lucky fan and whatever happened to that record-breaking ball?
Who caught Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball?
Hundreds of fans have caught Barry Bonds’ home runs over the years, but none are more valuable than number 756. The right-centerfield seats broke into a scrum once the ball touched the ground that day. Emerging with blood pouring from his face and a white sphere in his hand was 21-year-old Matt Murphy.
Murphy wasn’t a Giants season-ticket holder or even a fan of the team at all. He and his buddy were about to begin a vacation to Australia when they both decided to catch a Giants game while in San Fransico for the night. It turned out to be a little more than just a relaxing pit stop.
Murphy saw the home run ball bounce around the seats behind him, and he wasted no time getting down and dirty for the prize. He dove into the pile and grasped the ball while more fans dove on top of him, pinning him to the pavement. The incredible hustle earned Murphy a piece of baseball history, and eventually a small fortune.
What did Matt Murphy do with the record-breaking home run ball?
Murphy held the ball in a safety deposit box while he decided what to do with his newest prized possession. He was approached by several parties with offers in the coming weeks, including Topps and multiple independent businessmen, but Murphy decided to formerly auction the ball off using Sotheby’s Auction House.
Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball was eventually sold to fashion designer Marc Ecko for $752,467. Murphy split the money with his friend who made the trip with him and put his half away to build on over the years. He eventually opened up a sneaker store in New York City called Solefood NYC.
Ecko famously put the ball’s fate in the hands of the Internet. He sent out an online poll asking fans whether he should give the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk, or send it into space. The results prompted Ecko to mark the record-beating ball with an asterisk, signifying Bonds’ tarnished home run record due to his use of PEDs.
Bonds famously ripped Ecko for the publicity stunt, telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “He’s stupid. He’s an idiot. He spent $750,000 on the ball and that’s what he’s doing with it? What he’s doing is stupid.”
Where is Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball now?
Marc Ecko drew plenty of public backlash from his decision to carve an asterisk on Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball, but the Hall of Fame still accepted the ball in 2008. It is still there on display to this day.
After it’s wild journey, the record-breaking home run ball is finally in its rightful home.