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The historic 70th homerun ball

#70 Home Run Ball
Purchased for $2.7 million

Todd McFarlane's PressBox
February 8, 1999

Saying he was a "psycho fan" and a "sports geek," Spawn creator Todd McFarlane revealed Monday he was the anonymous bidder who paid almost $3 million for Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball.

Canadian-born McFarlane is creator of the SpawnŽ character, who has been depicted in a live-action movie, an Emmy-award winning HBO animated series, award-winning action figures and comic books. McFarlane is the creative force behind Todd McFarlane Productions, McFarlane Toys, Todd McFarlane Entertainment, McFarlane Design Group, and McFarlane Toys Worldwide, Inc.

He is in New York attending the American International Toy Fair, at which McFarlane Toys is a major exhibitor.

McFarlane is an avid sports fan who plays baseball, and is part-owner of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Team. McFarlane, who last week participated in a Fantasy Baseball camp, played on a semi-professional summer team in Kamloops, British Columbia, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in 1982.

The McFarlane Collection includes McGwire's #1, 63, 67, 68, 69 and 70 Homerun Balls, along with Sosa's #33, 61 and 66 Homerun Balls. Additional memorabilia includes a pair of McGwire's autographed baseball cleats. All of these items, with the exception of McGwire's #1 and 69 Homerun balls, were purchased on January 12 at Guernsey's Baseball Auction.

"The #70 Ball is an unmatched piece of sports memorabilia," said McFarlane. "Baseball is the only sport where the 'record' can leave the field of play, and an average fan can take home a piece of history from the stadium. You can't do that in hockey, basketball or football. That's why I wanted to bring the ball back to the fans across North America and the world, to recapture the excitement of the record, to be able to let everyone look at the ball and say 'Cool.'"

Each baseball in "The McFarlane Collection" has historical significance, and includes six of the 10 highest priced baseballs ever purchased.

McGwire's #1 Ball was the first opening day grand slam in St. Louis history, hit on March 31, 1998. He hit the #67 Ball on September 26. It was the homerun that finally separated McGwire from Sosa, and came on the same night as the #68 Ball, again setting the record. The #69 Ball sailed out of Busch stadium on September 27 off a third-inning pitch from Montreal Expo's pitcher Mike Thurman. It was the first of two historic homers that night. McGwire hit the #70 Ball out during the seventh inning - his last at bat for 1998. The three-run, 370' home - his fifth in three games - came off of Carl Pavano's first pitch to the Cardinal hitter that inning and was caught by Philip Ozersky, who sold the baseball at the auction.

Sosa's #33 Ball, hit on June 30, was a MLB record-breaking 20th homerun in a month. Sosa's #61 Ball, hit September 13, marked only the third homerun to break Babe Ruth's record, and the second to tie Roger Maris. For 45 minutes September 25, Sammy Sosa alone held the record for the most homeruns in a season when he blasted #66. It was his final homerun for 1998, capping an amazing season in which Sosa had a .308 batting average, 158 RBIs and helped his team get into the playoffs for the first time since 1989. Initial plans call for various parts of the collection to tour around North American and to other significant baseball venues throughout the baseball season.

1999 Grammy-nominee, Todd McFarlane, also received the 1998 Ernst & Young Arizona Entrepreneur Award. The Grammy nomination is for the animation of Pearl Jam's first music video in six years, "Do the Evolution," which was released in August. McFarlane also created the animation for Korn's newest video released February 5, based on the song "Freak on a Leash." The unprecedented video, mixes performance footage, animation and conceptual footage into a "mini-movie" style production.

McFarlane Toys is the 5th largest action figure manufacturer in the US. The company produces Spawn and KISS action figures along with figures based on non-licensed characters and licensed characters including The Beatles Yellow Submarine, Ozzy Osbourne, Austin Powers, The Crow, Species II, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Chucky, Psycho and Pumpkinhead.

McFarlane was the executive producer for the $100 million grossing Spawn live-action movie, one of New Line Cinema's largest openings ever, and #1 release in 1997. He also executive produces the #1 rated Todd McFarlane's "Spawn" HBO animated series. Originally airing in 1997, the Emmy-nominated animated series became HBO Home Video's top selling original programming video of all time, and is certified platinum by ITA. The video has sold more than 800,000 copies. The series third season will debut on HBO in May.

Todd McFarlane created Spawn, which has been the #1 selling comic book in the US since its debut in May 1992. The series continues today at issue #80. Since its creation, Spawn has sold over 125 million copies worldwide in over 120 countries in 15 different languages. The Spawn issue #1 sold an unprecedented 1.7 million copies in the US and consistently outsells Batman, Superman and Spiderman. Other titles created and produced by Todd McFarlane Productions include Curse of the Spawn, KISS Psycho Circus comic book - the #1 release in 1997, and Todd McFarlane Presents KISS Psycho Circus Magazine. McFarlane will release five highly anticipated new titles in 1999.


Manufactured by Rawlings Sporting Goods in Turrialba, Costa Rica

More than 60,000 dozen baseballs supplied to MLB teams each season

Average life of baseball in Major League Baseball is 6 pitches

Average cost of official ball is $10

Average cost of Mark McGwire autographed baseball $125

50th home run ball auctioned by Christie's auction house last month for $50,000

70th home run ball $2.7 million

Home Run Ball # 70

  • Hit on September 27, 1998
  • Was hit out of Busch Stadium on the first pitch
  • Caught by 26-year old Phil Ozersky
  • On Sept. 28 he took the ball to work and showed to all his friends
  • That night the ball was kept in his safe
  • On September 29 the ball was kept in a safety deposit box at a local bank
  • The ball was housed at the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame from October 5-November 30
  • Returned to safety deposit box on the night of November 30
  • On December 7 the ball was flown to New York for the Guernsey's press conference
  • The ball makes debut at the press conference in Trump Tower


The world most famous sports item was expertly examined and discreetly anointed with the invisible CNA-laced ink by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Newport Beach, California, the world's largest sports memorabilia and collectibles authentication and certification service.

PSA formally announced the CNA process to the collecting hobby at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago on August 8, 1998. A day earlier, an article in USA Today previewed the notable announcement: "... The idea is that PSA will apply a clear liquid containing DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) produced in a lab to collectibles just after they have been signed by athletes." Autographs and memorabilia certified by this technique are marked "PSA/DNA Guaranteed Authentic."

The Mark McGwire 70 ball was marked with an ink containing CNA synthesized exclusively for PSA by CNA Technologies, Inc., Los Angeles. The ink is invisible to the naked eye, but easily seen when viewed with a special laser set to the proper light frequency. The small mark glows green.

PSA president Steve Rocchi emphasized: "The use of DNA tagging presents an insurmountable obstacle to would-be counterfeiters and an unprecedented level of confidence for future owners of PSA/DNA collectibles." Even for a world famous 70th home run baseball.

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