View Full Version : Kayaking fan retrieves both historic Bonds homers

04-14-2004, 07:29 PM
By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

April 14, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Larry Ellison paddled out to McCovey Cove, not bothering to wear his Arnold Schwarzenegger disguise for his second straight catch of a milestone home run by Barry Bonds.

Ellison, a 53-year-old sales director for a computer company, retrieved both of the balls hit by Bonds this week. The first was on Monday when the slugger tied godfather Willie Mays for third on the career list; the next came 29 1/2 hours later when Bonds passed Mays with another sensational shot into the water.

Ellison usually dresses in a Schwarzenegger mask and T-shirt of the California governor and former movie star. But on Tuesday, Ellison jumped from his blue kayak into San Francisco Bay with the mask, which could be seen splashing in the murky waters along with his cooler.

Ellison returned No. 660 to Bonds after Monday's game, but wasn't about to hand back No. 661. Bonds wanted him to have it anyway.

``We're Giants fans and I thought this would be important for Barry and Willie to have that ball,'' Ellison said. ``It's important to them. I wasn't interested in selling it to the highest bidder.''

When Bonds set the single-season record with 73 homers in 2001, two men fought over the ball and went to court to determine who owned it. After a year of litigation, a judge ordered them to sell it and split the proceeds. The ball was auctioned for $450,000.

Ellison attended both games with his adult son Jeremy. He received several tickets behind home plate for Tuesday's game, but he chose to take his usual spot, where he follows the game on the radio. Ellison kayaks recreationally.

He had caught his share of batting practice home runs, but never an actual game ball. Ellison also received tickets for several other games as a trade for giving the ball back to Bonds.

Anyone trying to reach him Wednesday was having a hard time.

``My cell phone is dead since it got wet in McCovey Cove last night and got soaked with salt water,'' his phone message said.

Ellison knows he could get plenty of money for the 661st homer. He's just not interested.

``That'd be nice. But some things are more important than others,'' he said. ``I've been a fan a long time. I kind of fell out during the strike, but I returned.''