Originally created 08/29/98

Network offering $250,000 for Mcwire ball



NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The fan who catches the baseball that breaks Roger Maris' home run record will get $250,000 from a television shopping network -- unless there's a fight over it.

"We are aware that there could be vigorous pursuit of the ball, but our company will not make the award if a fan obtains the ball through violent behavior," Kent Lillie, president and chief executive officer of the Shop at Home network, said Friday.

He said the company will use the ball for unspecified "business purposes," then donate it to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"That's where it belongs, where fans can see it for generations to come," he said in a written statement.

The reward is 50 times the amount paid to Sal Durante, a 19-year-old from Brooklyn who caught the ball Maris hit in 1961 to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in one season, Lillie said.

Maris' closest pursuers are St. Louis first baseman Mark McGwire, who has 54 homers going into Friday night, and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs, with 52.