Red Sox sue to keep ball that made '04 Series final out

BOSTON -- The Red Sox asked a judge to let the team keep
the ball that Doug Mientkiewicz caught for the final out that
clinched Boston's 2004 World Series title.

Ownership of the ball has been in dispute during the 13 months
since pitcher Keith Foulke flipped it to Mientkiewicz, giving
Boston a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals and its first
World Series championship in 86 years.

Mientkiewicz, who clutched the ball in his glove and joined
teammates in celebration, later put the ball in a safe deposit box
and claimed ownership when the Red Sox asked for it.

In January, after he was traded to the New York Mets, he loaned
the ball to the Red Sox for one year. He would get it back "unless
the ultimate issue of ownership has been otherwise resolved," the
agreement said.

Lawyers for the Red Sox filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Suffolk
Superior Court asking the court to keep the ball or place it in
some other "secure location" until a judge decides the ownership

"The Red Sox continue to assert that their former employee,
Mientkiewicz, obtained the baseball through the course of his
employment, that he acquired no ownership interest and that the Red
Sox are the rightful owners of the baseball," the lawsuit stated.

After Mientkiewicz agreed to loan the ball to the team, it was
delivered to Fenway Park in a Brinks armored truck. The ball then
joined the World Series trophy on a tour of Massachusetts cities
and towns.

"I want the fans to see it," Mientkiewicz said at the time,
"and that's what both the Red Sox and I agreed on."

The agreement said proceeds derived from exhibiting the ball
would be donated to the Red Sox Foundation, the team's charitable

Greg Landry, Mientkiewicz's agent, declined comment.

"We have made numerous approaches to the Mientkiewiczes and to
their representatives, to seek an amicable private settlement, and
to ensure that this piece of club history remains accessible to all
our fans," Red Sox lawyer Lucinda Treat said in a statement
Thursday, adding that the organization holds no ill will toward
Mientkiewicz. "All were rebuffed. That is why we now seek a

The organization intends to display the ball for its fans and
has no desire to gain any commercial benefit, the statement said.