It’s either a tall tale or a strange but true memorabilia story, but Jonathan Papelbon claims his dog attacked and killed the final out ball from the 2007 World Series.
Jonathan Papelbon is apparently not a display case kind of guy. The Boston Red Sox ace reliever told a Mississippi reporter that his bulldog got ahold of the ball he pitched to strike out Seth Smith of the Rockies and earn Boston its second Series title in four years.
According to Papelbon, his dog Boss is the reason why you won’t see the ball in Cooperstown, at Fenway Park or in any baseball museum.
"My dog ate it," Papelbon told the Hattiesburg American. "He plays with baseballs like they are his toys. He jumped up one day on the counter and snatched it. He likes rawhide. He tore that thing to pieces. I’ll keep what’s left of it."
As they ran out to embrace after the final out, catcher Jason Varitek put the ball in his pocket. He later claimed he had given it to Papelbon.
For a few weeks, Papelbon said he had no knowledge of the ball’s location but did finally admit to having it.
In 2004, the Red Sox got into a bit of a tiff about their first World Series-winning baseball in decades. The club’s former first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, claimed ownership before the ball was eventually loaned to the Red Sox for display.
"From the Red Sox standpoint, our only real comment is that from the ballclub’s perspective, the 2004 ball was very special because it was the first time we won in 86 years and everything," said Red Sox spokesman John Blake. "This one, obviously, if Pap says the dog ate the ball or whatever, we have to believe him. It’s really kind of a non-issue with us."
Papelbon has been known to be a bit of a free spirit, so there are doubters about the "dog ate my baseball" story.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein placed it in the proper perspective. "I hope we have this problem every year."