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
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
"I'll give it back to the team," Varitek said at Coors Field.
"Maybe we won't have a controversy this time."