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MLB’s Secret Process Keeps Track of Historic Balls

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An auto theft investigator is the keeper of the baseballs in San Francisco, using a secret identification process to label and track those that are involved in the home run chase.

Consider it a witness-protection program for those uniquely marked balls, which are substituted into the game — four balls at a time, in a specific order — when Barry Bonds steps to the plate. That practice has been going on since Bonds’ hit No. 751 on July 3 at Cincinnati.

Dean Marcic’s job is to protect the identity of those balls, those cash cows for souvenir collectors.

"It’s a bit of history I never expected to be a part of," Marcic said, "and it’s pretty cool."

The Contra Costa Times tried to find out how it all works.