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Disputed ball from milestone goes for $804,129

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants slugger Barry Bonds' 700th home run blast netted a top bid of $804,129 Wednesday after a 10-day online auction.

The historic baseball had received 240 offers by the time
Overstock.com closed the bidding. The identity of the 700th homer's
new owner, a bidder nicknamed "bomasterj," was not immediately
made public.

Holly MacDonald, vice president of auctions at Overstock.com,
said the site's policy is to verify the highest bidder has the
means and intention to make the purchase before declaring a winner.

Steve Williams got the ball after a scramble in the left-center
field bleachers at SBC Park on Sept. 17 -- a mad
dash that has enriched his pocketbook but also landed him in court. Timothy Murphy has sued
Williams, saying he should get the ball because he had it locked
behind his knees while at the bottom of a scrum before Williams
swiped it.

A judge refused to hold up the sale, freeing Williams to sell
the ball. Attorneys for Murphy said they are continuing with their suit
and are seeking the proceeds from the ball's sale as damages.

Reached by phone Wednesday after the winning bid was announced,
Williams said that he'll quit his job as a broker's assistant in San
Mateo but that he has no idea what he'll do with the money.

His lawyer, Daniel Horowitz, speculated the ball's price will
prompt more people to try to claim ownership.

"All of the roaches are going to try to hang on to Mom's apple
pie, and we're going to squash them," Horowitz said.

Bonds, who became the first member of the 700-homer club in 31 years, has 703 career home runs, trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

In October 2001, Bonds' record-setting 73rd homer of the season
sparked litigation that ended when a judge ordered two men who
claimed ownership to split the $450,000 the ball fetched. That ball
might have fetched more, but it didn't get sold until a year after
the homer because a judge ordered it to remain under lock and key
until the litigation ended.

Doug Allen, president of Mastronet.com, an online sports auction
site, said Wednesday's auction price was "incredible" for Bonds'
700th homer. He valued it in the $100,000 range on grounds that
Bonds likely will break Ruth's and Aaron's records as early as next
season, making those balls more valuable.

"It's an incredible collectible, but that's even more of an
incredible price," Allen said.

Comic book icon Todd McFarlane paid $3.2 million for Mark
McGwire's 70th home run ball, a 1998 blast that broke a
single-season home-run record that had stood for 40 years.