Hot off the news of Barry Bonds' "asterisk" ball finally becoming donated to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Fred Comstock has announced that he will be donating Mark Sweeney's "forward slash" ball to the Hall of Fame as well.
Inspired by Mark Ecko's branding of an asterisk onto Barry Bonds' record-setting 756 home run ball, Comstock took a ball hit by Mark Sweeney on April 8, 2008, and branded it with a "/", or forward-slash symbol. Comstock obtained the ball after Sweeney weakly grounded on a comebacker, ending the eighth inning; the ball was then tossed to Comstock, in the crowd, by first baseman Conor Jackson after Sweeney was retired.
"I figured it was a pretty important ball to save," said Comstock, "since it would probably be the last time that Sweeney's batting average would be in the .200s." Sure enough, Comstock was right, as April 8, the eighth game of the season, was the last time that Sweeney's average attained the .200 level--and as of tonight he is even below the .100 level.
"I wanted to brand it with a 'forward slash' since that punctuation mark reminded me of Sweeney's desperate, pathetic swing," continued Comstock. "It's been a real treat that Joe Torre has insisted on going to Sweeney in pinch-hitting situations, despite what history and statistics would indicate, so I can continue to watch Sweeney's forward slashes for myself."
Unlike Ecko, Comstock never debated loaning the ball to the HOF, instead opting immediately and definitively for the outright donation. "The ball kind of smells," said Comstock, "and it's old and moldy. Better to get this out of my house now before it continues stinking up the joint."
Wise words, indeed.