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Just what did ever happen to baseball #756?

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As of course you've heard by now, this summer Barry Bonds broke the all-time homerun record set by Henry Aaron and held since 1976. The 756th homerun came on August 7th, 2007. But what has happened to the infamous baseball since it sailed over the fence at AT&T Park in San Francisco? Here's a breakdown:

Matt Murphy, a 21-year-old New Yorker (and Mets fan), books a flight from NYC to Australia with a layover in San Francisco. During said layover, he forks over a ridiculous $100 for a $12 ticket to get the chance to see Bonds smack number 756.

scaredbaseball.gifOn Aug 7th, Bonds does exactly that and immediately chaos ensues as a throng of people throw themselves at the soaring ball.

murphy.jpg Eventually Murphy emerges from the scuffle with a bloody face (and THE BALL) and is immediately ushered downstairs by security.

hulk.jpgThe Giants faithful are beyond peeved that a Mets fan nabbed it. Meanwhile, experts say the ball will sell for half-a-mil at auction.

ebay.jpg Ebay expresses interest but the auction goes to Sotheby and SCP Auctions Inc.

s092660A.jpgSept 15th, 2007: Marc Ecko, a fashion designer (also!) from New York, shells out a whopping $752,467.20 for the THE BALL (clearly it was that extra .20 cents that secured it). Ecko shells out a whopping $752,467.20 for THE BALL (sorry, but is there an Ecko in the house?).

asterisk.jpgEcko starts a Web site where he asks people to vote on whether or not he should have THE BALL branded with an asterisk before turning it over to Cooperstown (that's baseball speak for The Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, NY).

rocket.jpgThe options on the Web site are: A: "Bestow it intact to Cooperstown" - B: "Permanently brand the ball with an asterisk before sending it to Cooperstown" and C: "Launch it into space forever"

alex letter B.jpgTen million people cast their votes on THE BALL's fate. Guess what folks? B comes up the winner!

bonds.jpgAsked what he thinks of Ecko's little Web adventure, American hero and idol for many children, Barry Bonds, weighs in: "He's stupid. He's an idiot"¦ He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid."

So let me put the question to all you smart _floss readers: Is Barry right? Is Ecko "stupid?" Is he "an idiot"? Should THE BALL be branded with an asterisk?

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What's the Kennection? #159
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11 Classic Facts About Converse Chucks
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Converse’s Chuck Taylor sneakers have been around since the early 20th century, but they haven’t changed much—until recently. In 2015, The Chuck II—a new line of Converse that looks much the same as the original shoe but with a little more padding and arch support—hit stores. In honor of the kicks' staying power, here are 11 facts about Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.  

1. They were originally athletic shoes. 

The Converse All-Star debuted in 1917 as an athletic sneaker. It quickly became the number one shoe for basketball, then a relatively new sport (basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891, but the NBA wasn't founded until 1946). By the late 1940s, most of the NBA sported Chucks. They remain the best-selling basketball shoes of all time, even though very few people wear them for basketball anymore. (Many teams switched to leather Adidas in the late ‘60s.)

2. Converse previously made rain boots.

The company started in 1908 as a rubber shoe company that produced galoshes.  

3. The All-Star design hasn’t really changed since 1917.

The updated Chuck II is Converse’s first real attempt to update its flagship product since the early 20th century. The company is understandably reticent to shake things up: All-Stars make up the majority of the company’s revenue, and like any classic design, its fans can be die-hards. In the 1990s, when the company tried to introduce All-Stars that were more comfortable and had slightly fewer design inconsistencies, hardcore aficionados rebelled. “They missed the imperfections in the rubber tape that lines the base of the shoe,” according to the Washington Post. The company went back to making a slightly imperfect shoe.

4. Chuck Taylor was a basketball player and trainer ...

Chuck Taylor in 1921. Image Credit: North Carolina State University via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Taylor was a Converse salesman and former professional basketball player who traveled around the country teaching basketball clinics (and selling shoes) starting in the 1920s. His name was added onto an ankle patch on the sneaker in 1932

5. ... And though he sold a lot of Chucks, he wasn't always a great coach.

Taylor is in large part responsible for the shoe’s popularity with athletes (the company rewarded him with an unlimited expense account), but his training advice wasn’t always the best. As former University of North Carolina player Larry Brown told Spin in an oral history of the shoe:

My greatest memory of Chuck Taylor—probably ’61 or ’62—is that he told Coach [Dean] Smith that he’d make us special weighted shoes in Carolina blue. The idea was that we’d wear the weighted shoes in practice, and then during the games, we’d run faster and jump higher. Well, we tried them for one practice and everyone pulled a hamstring.

6. Converse didn’t intend for their shoes to be punk.

“We always thought of ourselves as an athletic shoe company,” John O’Neil, who oversaw Converse’s marketing from 1983 to 1997, told Spin. “We wanted to sell a wholesome shoe.” The company was still touting its shoes as basketball sneakers as late as 2012, and some of its non-Chucks sneakers still have pro endorsers.

7. The company owns a recording studio.

Finally embracing its role in the music scene, the company launched Rubber Tracks, a Brooklyn-based recording studio where bands can record for free, in 2011.

8. Not all the Ramones were fans. 

Chuck Taylors are associated with punk rockers, especially the Ramones, but not everyone in the band wore them. “Dee Dee and I switched over to the Chuck Taylors because they stopped making [the style of] U.S. Keds and Pro-Keds [that we liked],” Marky Ramone told Spin. “Joey never wore them. He needed a lot of arch support and Chuck Taylors are bad for that.”

9. Chucks were initially only high tops. 

In 1962, Converse rolled out its first oxford Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Previously, it had just been a high-top shoe. Four years later, the company would introduce the first colors other than black and white.

10. Rocky ran in them.

In 1976, All-Stars were still considered a viable athletic shoe. If you look closely at the training montage from Rocky, you’ll see the boxer is wearing Chucks. 

11. Wiz Khalifa loves them. 

The rapper named his record label Taylor Ganag Records, in part due to his appreciation for Chuck Taylors. In 2013, he launched a shoe collection with Converse featuring 12 styles. 

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