COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Former Los Angeles Dodgers general
manager Fred Claire donated the ball from the final out of the 1988
World Series to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
"It's time for the baseball to be delivered to its proper
home," Claire said. "It's the only resting place that makes sense
so that the baseball and the memories it carries related to the
1988 World Series can be shared with all of the fans of the game."
After Orel Hershiser struck out Oakland's Tony Phillips to
complete the Dodgers' 4-1 series victory over the Athletics,
catcher Rick Dempsey gave the ball to Claire, who spent almost 30
years in the Dodgers' organization and served as the team's GM from
1987-1998. The prized possession spent the next 16 years on
The donation came less than a week after Red Sox first baseman
Doug Mientkiewicz caused a stir when he said he was keeping the
ball that ended Boston's 86-year championship drought. The Red Sox
want it for their archives.
Claire acknowledged that the tug-of-war played a small part in
his decision to give up the ball.
"It pointed out the significance of the last out of the World
Series," Claire said. "It's not a reflection on Doug or Boston or
"But if it starts a trend, so much the better."
A larger factor was Claire's discovery that the Hall of Fame
owned just two "final out" baseballs -- the 1903 ball thrown by
Boston pitcher Bill Dinneen to strike out Pittsburgh's Honus Wagner
and the 1889 ball New York Giants catcher Buck Ewing used to throw
out Brooklyn's Darby O'Brien stealing.
"I was astounded to see that the last World Series ball that
the Hall had was from 1903," Claire said.
"The Hall of Fame relies on donations from fans and members of
baseball's family," said president Dale Petroskey. "We are
honored that Fred would think of Cooperstown, but not surprised,
given his profound respect for the game and its glorious history."