September 27, 2007 / 12:58 AM / 11 years ago

Bonds' record-breaking ball to be branded with asterisk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The ball Barry Bonds hit for his record-breaking 756th home run will be permanently branded with an asterisk and shipped to the Hall of Fame.

San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds leans against the the batting cage prior to the Giants game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, September 26, 2007. Bonds, baseball's all-time home run leader, is playing in his final home game for the Giants. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Fashion designer Marc Ecko, who paid more than $750,000 for the ball, said on Wednesday that more than 10 million people had cast their ballots in an online vote to determine its fate.

Ecko said 47 percent decided the ball should be sent to the Cooperstown, New York, museum with an asterisk. Thirty-four percent voted to send the ball to Cooperstown unblemished, while 19 percent wanted it sent on a rocket into outer space.

“We’re going to be working with the folks at the Hall of Fame,” Ecko told NBC’s Today show. “It’s an historical museum. We want to treat this ball as such.”

The asterisk represents the belief by many fans that Bonds may not have spoken truthfully when denying steroid use.

On August 7, the San Francisco Giants slugger hit his 756th homer to pass Hank Aaron as baseball’s all-time long-ball king.

Ecko bought the baseball on September 15 in an online auction and gave voters the three choices of what he should do with it.

Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey said the museum would be delighted to accept the ball.

“You bet we’re happy to get it,” he said. “We’re a non-profit history museum. Every one of the 35,000 items we have has been donated to us.

“This ball wouldn’t be coming to Cooperstown without Marc Ecko buying it from the fan who caught it.”

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