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06/27/08 7:36 PM ET
Griffey makes offer for 600th HR ball
Fan has opted to auction item with hopes of big return
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The man that caught Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th career home run ball has dollar signs in his eyes and his heart set on a big payday.
Before Joe Scherer puts the ball up for sale at auction however, Griffey hopes he thinks about it very carefully. And the Reds right fielder has an offer of his own that he hopes could change the seller's mind.
Scherer was the fan who caught the milestone baseball in the right-field seats at Dolphin Stadium when the Reds played the Marlins on June 9. He plans to auction the ball in Chicago on Aug. 1, reportedly stating that he needs the money the sale of the ball could potentially bring.
The head of the auction house said on Thursday the ball would sell for at least $50,000, and that bidding could reach $100,000. Griffey, who became the sixth Major League player to reach the 600-homer plateau, cautioned that Scherer might not get as much for the ball as he hopes.
"It's his choice. I'd like to have it but it is what it is," Griffey told MLB.com on Friday. "Realistically, I didn't break any record, tie any record or anything. I was the sixth person to hit 590 and 602, too."
Reds officials met with Scherer moments after Griffey hit the homer, but efforts to negotiate for the ball were immediately rebuffed.
Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach Scherer.
"I totally respect Joe's right to sell the ball," Goldberg told MLB.com. "But he's got to separate fantasy from reality. Nobody is more proud of Junior than I am, but I don't think the dollar value is going to be anything close to what Joe thinks. This ball didn't break any records and it's not unique."
Besides getting lesser value for the baseball, Goldberg pointed out that auction fees and taxes would reduce the sum by a hefty percentage.
"He's going to be disappointed at how much he nets," Goldberg said.
Through the Marlins' front office, Goldberg and Griffey have passed along an offer to Scherer for the return of the ball. It includes 10 Griffey memorabilia items, including some game-used articles, items that came from other players and an all-expense paid trip for four people to New York for next month's All-Star break. The three-day, three-night vacation would include tickets to all the Yankee Stadium events, including the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
So far, Griffey and Goldberg have not heard back from Scherer.
"The offer is still good," Goldberg said.
The auction could be blocked by a lawsuit by Justin Kimball, the fan who claimed he caught the ball first before it was ripped from his hands. Kimball filed suit to block the ball's sale in Miami-Dade County court, but a temporary restraining order to block the sale of the ball wasn't upheld by the court.
Goldberg said Kimball's attorney contacted him and said if the lawsuit was successful, they would give the ball to Griffey for nothing. Goldberg said if Kimball won his case, he would be rewarded in some manner by Griffey.