Heritage offers $1 million for Bonds’ 756 HR ball

The question of what Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run baseball might be worth has been answered: It’s worth a minimum of $1 million.

Heritage Auction Galleries has offered to pay $1 million to purchase Bonds’ 756th home run baseball.

“We invite the lucky owner who delivers this historic baseball, as verified by Major League Baseball, to redeem it for a $1 million bounty at a Dallas news conference within 15 days of the record-breaking homer,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage. “The career home run record is one of the most significant milestones in American sport. The baseball that sets the mark could truly be considered ‘priceless,’ but we expect that $1 million will be very tempting to the fan who catches that ball.”

If the owner decides to let the market determine the price tag on the baseball, Heritage will waive its standard seller’s fee and offer the baseball in a public auction.

The $1 million offer has attracted a lot of media attention from outlets such as ESPN and CNN, which accomplished one of Heritage’s goals. But is the ball truly worth $1 million, considering the number of fans who dislike Bonds and that previous home run balls of note from the Giants’ slugger have generally sold for less than what they’ve been touted to be worth? For instance, the ball Bonds hit for his 73rd home run in 2001 sold for $517,000 in 2003, far less than the $3 million Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from the 1998 season sold for just four years earlier.

“We aren’t ignoring the fact that Bonds is not universally loved, so a $3 million result – as was the case with McGwire’s 70th home run ball – is unlikely,” Ivy said. “But, in the grand scheme of things, this is a more significant achievement in baseball history. It will arguably be the most significant home run baseball ever presented to the hobby.”

It will certainly be the most significant home run baseball presented to the hobby thus far, but many memorabilia experts believe the ball Bonds hits for his final career home run – the standard that hitters will be chasing for years to come – will ultimately be more valuable. What does Ivy think that ball could be worth?

“That’s even tougher to figure than the price of No. 756,” he said. “I think a big part of the fuel that will power the auction of the ball we’re hunting is the anticipation in the weeks leading up to the homer. Everyone in the world will be watching, loving him or hating him, cheering or booing, but still fixated on the event. It’s highly unlikely that even one-tenth of the audience will see his final career home run whenever he decides to call it quits. The attention will pale in comparison. The 756 ball represents the milestone of becoming the all-time home run king, which ultimately makes it more desirable in my opinion.”

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