BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS • The Boston Red Sox had an easier time winning the 2004 World Series than figuring out who would take possession of the ball from the final out.
When Red Sox closer Keith Foulke fielded a grounder by Edgar Renteria and tossed it to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to end the game it completed a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals, and gave the Red Sox their first World Series championship since 1918. Well aware of the significance of the ball, Mientkiewicz held on to it.
According to the Associated Press he gave the ball to his wife and eventually put it in a safe deposit box. The Red Sox management also saw the significance of the ball and wanted it in its possession rather than that of a part-time first baseman that had only been with the Red Sox for half a year.
The Associated Press also reported that team owner John Henry and Mientkiewicz talked by phone on this day in baseball history in 2005. Mientkiewicz only said it was a “nice conversation.”
It would be another fifteen months of haggling, which included the filing of a lawsuit, before Mientkiewicz, who had since been traded, and the Red Sox would settle the dispute. In the spring of 2006 both sides agreed to send the ball to the Hall of Fame.
The Lesson of Doug Mientkiewicz, by Wayne Drehs, ESPN, April 20, 2011
Howard Ulman, The Associated Press, January 8, 2005