Legendary comic book artist Todd McFarlane famously bought Mark McGwire's 70th HR ball for a whopping $3 million at auction in 1998. But after decades of damage to McGwire's reputation, damage has been done to the ball's value too.
According to TMZ, auction house experts now value the ball at less than a half-million dollars. One expert has it valued between $250-300,000, while another has it going for $250,000 to $400,000 tops."
The decline in value doesn't seem to relate to any the decline of baseball memorabilia as a whole. TMZ noted that a Mike Trout rookie card recently went for $900,000 at auction.
It probably has much more to do with the fact that in 2010 McGwire publicly admitted to using steroids during the 1998 season. McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and a number of other home run sluggers of the late-90s and early-2000s almost all have asterisks next to their names - and their numbers - as a result of steroid use.
Incidentally, Todd McFarlane owns home run balls from all three of those athletes, but he still cherishes them as historical items with historical value.
But the recent attention brought back to the fateful 1998 home run battle between McGwire and Sosa has reminded everyone of what their steroid use did to the baseball.
So if McFarlane ever does get the inkling to part ways with his relics, he probably won't get his money back.