This Day in Baseball History: January 28th, 2005

“I’m gonna be so rich!”

On January 28, 2005:

Doug Mientkiewicz gives back the ball that made the last out of the 2004 World Series.

After making the last out of the 2004 World Series, Mientkiewicz kept the ball (he was the first baseman who received the throw), and he did not give it to the Red Sox (he actually gave it to his wife). Acquired at the July 31st deadline, Mientkiewicz put the ball in safe-keeping, actually a safety-deposit box named his “retirement fund” (he said he was kidding). This, however, was no laughing matter. The Red Sox wanted the ball that had ended their 86-year World Series drought, but Mientkiewicz wasn’t budging. Supposedly, both wanted the ball in order to share it with fans.

Making this situation more interesting is the baseball-playing side of things. Mientkiewicz was used to starting, but he didn’t play regularly once on the Red Sox. He was unhappy with his playing time. The Red Sox weren’t really keen on keeping him, either. They had already said that they would trade either Mientkiewicz or Kevin Millar. So, was Mientkiewicz keeping the ball and holding the Red Sox hostage at the same time? Was he a greedy man?

Well, three weeks after all this started, Mientkiewicz and the Red Sox had a “cordial” (I doubt it was anything but “cordial”) meeting in which they agreed that Mientkiewicz (it’s a pain to spell and type his name) would rent the ball to the Red Sox for a year. Was he greedy? Well, he did give the ball to the Red Sox and did not receive payment. However, he could have planned to sell it, but when the Red Sox asked for it back, he lost the media battle. Was he holding the team hostage? No. He was traded to the New York Mets the same day for a minor-leaguer and cash. Theo Epstein and the Red Sox would emphasize that the trade had nothing to do with the ball, which seems kosher because they had already stated they would trade one or the other. Then again, this may have made it easier to trade Mientkiewicz (let’s just call him “M” from now on).

About the situation, M would say:

“I didn’t expect all of this with the ball,” he added. “Sometimes in life you think you’re doing the right thing and it doesn’t turn out that way. That’s kind of what happened here. I didn’t think it was going to come out to this.”

Personally, I don’t see how it could have been right. Maybe he didn’t really expect all of it, but on a play as important, what made him think it was right to take the ball?

On another odd note, Edgar Renteria, who grounded out to end the World Series, would sign with Boston that off-season. Think he got a bonus?


4 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: January 28th, 2005”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    Same principle that lets fans keep a homerun ball or a foulball.

    The club pays for the balls, but relinquishes ownership.

    The main question would be is there a clause in the contract that says the player is/isn’t allowed to keep balls/other items?

    You can’t pick and choose, its either/or.

    So, if there is no rule, then Mein keeps it? If there is, doesn’t someone owe a ball back to the Giants for Bond’s 756th/

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Fair point. I concede.

  3. The Common Man Says:

    In Minnesota, Minky was the semi-official shortening of Mientkiewicz. After meeting and interacting with him, apparently a-hole was appropriate as well.

  4. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    You mind if I ask about the story?

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