Hey, I'd buy 4 BCs! By BENNIE M. CURRIE, Associated Press Writer CHICAGO - The owners of Harry Caray's restaurant paid $106,600 for the ball that was deflected by a fan during a playoff loss, a purchase aimed at closing an agonizing chapter in Cubs history. The ball was sold at auction early Friday, with the winning bid by Grant DePorter, managing partner of Harry Caray's Restaurant group, named for the late Cubs broadcaster. DePorter said the restaurant will solicit ideas from Cubs fans on how to destroy the ball. "When we heard this thing was going to be auctioned off, we felt like it was going to be a trophy that was going to rubbed in Cubs fans' noses," DePorter said. "We weren't about to let it get into the hands of a Marlins fan." Cubs fan Steve Bartman got his hands on the foul ball as it appeared headed for the glove of left fielder Moises Alou in Game 6 of the National League (news) championship series. The ball ricocheted off Bartman's hand and the Florida Marlins (news) rallied to beat Chicago 8-3. The Cubs then lost Game 7 and missed a chance to reach their first World Series (news - web sites) since 1945. The destruction of the ball is planned for Feb. 26, when the restaurant organizes a worldwide toast to Caray, who died Feb. 18, 1998, four days after a heart attack. "We want to create some closure to the way the season ended, and destroying it hopefully will have kind of a cathartic effect for the fans," DePorter said. He said that Bartman is invited to attend. "Most of the people here feel sorry for Steve Bartman," DePorter said. "He was simply a Cubs fan at the right place at the wrong time. We'd be happy to have him and hope it helps his healing." Messages left Friday by The Associated Press with Bartman and his spokesman were not immediately returned. Thirty-seven bids had been made by the time the auction closed at about 4 a.m. Initial bidding began at $5,000 on Dec. 1. About half the bids were made in the final hours of the auction. "The bidding was really fueled by three or four individuals, at the end," said Mark Theotikos, vice president of auction operations at MastroNet Inc., an Internet auction house in suburban Oak Brook. said. MastroNet auctioned the ball on behalf of a 33-year-old Chicago attorney identified only as Jim. According to the company, he was sitting near Bartman when the ball was deflected. The man put the ball in his pocket after it bounced his way. The ball was authenticated using affidavits, ticket stubs and other information, MastroNet vice president of acquisitions Brian Marren has said. Theotikos said the size of the winning bid reflects the place the ball holds in Cubs folklore. "Everyone knows who Bartman is," Theotikos said.