HR math: 500 equals $500,000 Local businessman wants to buy ball

September 17, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

When Eddie Murray lined a Felipe Lira fastball into the right-field bleachers at Camden Yards on Sept. 6, hitting the 500th home run of his career, no one probably could have guessed the soap opera that would ensue.

Dan Jones of Towson was sitting in the bleachers that night and caught the ball. It was hit right to him. Since then, Jones expressed an interest in selling the ball to the Orioles or to Fila, makers of athletic shoes that Murray endorses. They both declined.

Now, Michael Lasky, the president and chief executive officer of Inphomation Communications, the Baltimore company that runs infomercials for psychic advice, has offered to pay $500,000 for the ball, which would be the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia. Under the name Mike Warren, Lasky used to run a gambling and horse race handicapping service.

Lasky said he wants the ball so he can display it at a hotel he's opening downtown. Lasky said he discussed the offer with his friend Steve Geppi, a minority owner of the Orioles and a comic book collecting expert, and Geppi told him the ball was worth about $100,000. However, Lasky said he wanted to make sure no one outbid him, so he made an offer he thought no one could refuse.

"It was Eddie's 500th home run and I was thinking about what to offer and I went from $500 to $5,000 to $500,000 and never took into consideration that wasn't the real value of the ball," Lasky said. "To me, it's a tremendous feat and it's also about Baltimore and Maryland and losing the Colts and losing Eddie Murray and getting him back and losing Babe Ruth. This town doesn't deserve that. I think the ball may or may not be worth it. I'm not lTC collector. I'm not going to trade it."

Lasky ran an ad in The Sun on Sunday declaring his intent to buy the ball and said he has heard from Jones.

Jones could not be reached for comment by The Sun, but asked his intentions by WJZ-TV, he replied with a smile, "What would you do?"

The home run ball Cal Ripken hit on the night he tied Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games record sold for $41,736.

Pub Date: 9/17/96

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