SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jeff Idelson, vice president of communication and education for baseball's Hall of Fame and Museum, expressed confidence that the shrine eventually will receive the ball Barry Bonds hit for his record-setting 756th home run, perhaps by Opening Day. "It's a poignant piece historically, whether it comes in March or next year," Idelson said Wednesday during a visit to Scottsdale Stadium. "It's a piece that over time maintains its historical value." Idelson has discussed acquiring the ball from Marc Ecko, the hip-hop clothing mogul who purchased it at auction last September for $752,467. When Ecko relinquishes the ball to Cooperstown, Idelson said that it will be displayed with the asterisk that was affixed to it. The red mark reflects the wishes of respondents to an Internet poll who wanted some acknowledgement of Bonds' alleged steroid use.
Idelson said that the text accompanying the ball will fully explain the facts and context of what happened to put the asterisk on it. Idelson added that the Hall would welcome Bonds' input on how the text is worded. "The asterisk doesn't implicate Barry," Idelson said. "It's purely a part of the story of how it ended up in Cooperstown. You let the visitor determine how they feel and make their own value judgment. We would never suggest how they value or judge things." Several Bonds-related items already are on display in Cooperstown until Opening Day: the batting helmets he wore when he hit his 755th and 756th homers; plate umpire John Hirschbeck's ball/strike indicator from the Aug. 7 game in which Bonds broke Hank Aaron's home run record; balls signed by the Giants' starting lineup, the opposing Washington Nationals' lineup and the umpiring crew from that game; the cap worn by Mike Bacsik, the pitcher who allowed No. 756; and Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper's scorecard from that night. Zito sharper: Barry Zito worked three innings and allowed one run, Ryan Shealy's slicing opposite-field homer leading off the third inning, as the Giants lost, 3-1, to the Kansas City Royals. Zito's outing was substantially better than his previous one last Saturday, when he yielded eight runs in two-thirds of an inning to Oakland. He threw 44 pitches that afternoon, yet needed only 39 to complete Wednesday's appearance. Zito said that although the results differed vastly from game to game, he felt roughly the same both times. The difference, he said, rested in his success at going after hitters -- a familiar Zito lament. "It's a daily battle to be on top of your stuff," he said. "I think if there was any mechanism to make it automatic, it wouldn't be fun to watch, because you'd know how people would do every time."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.