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2 Fans Agree to Sell Bonds Home Run Ball

March 13, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The two fans who fought over Barry Bonds' record-setting home run ball have settled their dispute, agreeing to sell the souvenir and split the proceeds.

Alex Popov, the man who gloved the ball from Bonds' historic 73rd homer before losing it in the ensuing melee, and Patrick Hayashi, who ended up with it, agreed Wednesday to hire a St. Louis firm to sell the ball.

"We have come to an agreement that the best thing to do is get back to what this is all about, which is that this is a historical moment in baseball history that we are both a part of," Popov told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Hayashi could not be reached for comment.

Since it landed in the stands at Pacific Bell Park on Oct. 7, 2001, the baseball has been locked in a safe-deposit box overseen by a judge who ultimately ordered Popov and Hayashi to sell it and split the money -- perhaps more than $1 million.

But after that December ruling, the two men couldn't agree on how to sell the ball. Until recently, they were still considering appealing Judge Kevin McCarthy's decision that neither of them could claim sole ownership.

"Sitting here almost 90 days after the decision, it's easier to see we didn't give Judge McCarthy as much credit as we should have," Popov said.

"If he had ruled for either party, the other would have likely appealed and dragged this on, so there is some wisdom to his ruling that was not appreciated at the time."

Hayashi and Popov hired the St. Louis-based Barnes Sports Group to either arrange an auction or find a private buyer for the ball.

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