Here's a sure bet: Barry Bonds's 700th home run ball won't go on display at the Hall of Fame anytime soon.
The Cooperstown shrine this week rejected a proposed donation of the ball from an online gambling operation. Sportsbook.com purchased the ball from Bonds's famous blast for $102,000 at a June auction.
According to the company, the ball was offered with no strings attached to the Hall's executive board. But Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff Idelson said yesterday that rejecting the deal was an obvious decision.
"The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will never accept an artifact from any company whose business is promoting gambling," Idelson said. "We have a responsibility to preserve the game's history.
"We would not intentionally compromise its integrity when there are other ways to tell the history of this milestone," he said.
* PITCH FOR CLEMENTE: In the latest effort to recognize the increasing numbers of Latin American baseball players, an advocacy group wants Major League Baseball to retire Roberto Clemente's No. 21 by next year's All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.
"We're not doing this because he was the first Hispanic player to have 3,000 hits, or because he was a 12-time Gold Glove winner or 12-time all-star," said Fernando Mateo, president of New York-based Hispanics Across America. "We're doing it because of the way he lived his life and the way he died."
Clemente's Hall of Fame career spanned 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died at age 38 on Dec. 31, 1972, when a plane loaded with relief supplies for victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake crashed shortly after takeoff from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
* DUNCAN'S SUPENSION: Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan started serving a four-game suspension yesterday for his part in a scuffle during batting practice last month in Pittsburgh.
Duncan will miss the three-game series at Houston, and Monday's home game against the Chicago Cubs.
-- From News Services