Molina, Wainwright in ball dispute

ST. LOUIS -- When Adam Wainwright struck out Detroit's Brandon Inge to win the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals, he wanted the baseball.

He thought he had a deal with catcher Yadier Molina. But Molina kept the ball and doesn't plan to give it up. The ball remains at his home office in Puerto Rico.

"He was trying to get that ball from me, I know," Molina told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in Tuesday's edition. "He deserves it. He does. But that's the one thing I have from a long season. I hit .216. It was a tough year. I didn't earn much else, but I have that ball. That's my reward."

The dispute is a playful one, unlike a disagreement over the 2004 World Series ball that led to a lawsuit.

When the Boston Red Sox beat the Cardinals in 2004, ending an 86-year championship drought, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz kept the ball he caught when Edgar Renteria grounded out to end the game. He put it in a safe deposit box, calling it his "retirement fund."

That led to a disagreement with the Red Sox over ownership of the ball. The team sued. Nearly a year later, Mientkiewicz agreed to lend it to the Hall of Fame.

This offseason, Wainwright approached Molina, who led all players with 19 hits in the playoffs. Molina said he would give Wainwright the ball when the players received their championship rings.

Will he follow through?

"I don't think so," Molina said.

Said Wainwright: "Hopefully, he'll change his mind. The final three outs of a World Series -- how often do you get to do that in your career? But then, who's to say we would have gotten to that point had he not hit the home run against the Mets in the [NLCS] or if he doesn't [bat] like .4000 in the World Series? He probably does deserve it."