Red Sox still don't have ball from final out of World Series
BOSTON -- The last ball from Boston's 2007 World Series victory might not get back to the Red Sox, after all.
Jason Varitek caught the final strikeout Sunday night to complete a four-game sweep of Colorado, then tucked the ball in his back pocket as he ran to the mound to celebrate. Varitek said after the game that he'd give the souvenir to the team, but on Wednesday he said he gave it to closer Jonathan Papelbon.
"I already gave it to Pap," Varitek said. "It's out of my hands."
Papelbon does not know where the ball is, his agent, Sam Levinson, said Wednesday.
Ownership of the last ball became an issue in 2004, when the Red Sox swept St. Louis in the World Series to end an 86-year title drought. Doug Mientkiewicz, the first baseman who caught the final out of that Series, kept the ball. Team president Larry Lucchino wanted it back, and eventually a settlement was reached. Mientkiewicz loaned the ball to the Red Sox for a year and then donated it to the Hall of Fame.
Lucchino said in Colorado that a team archivist was working on retrieving the 2007 last ball. The team was not aware that Papelbon had the ball, spokesman John Blake said Wednesday.
"We will discuss it internally when everything dies down a little bit," Blake said.
The 2007 ball was the one Papelbon used to strike out pinch-hitter Seth Smith for the final out of Game 4 against the Rockies.
"I'll give it back to the team," Varitek said at Coors Field. "Maybe we won't have a controversy this time."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press