(Atlanta, Georgia) - Hall of Famer Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run baseball, and the bat he used to hit it 25 years ago, have been permanently "tagged" with a specially designed, invisible DNA-laced ink compound by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) of Newport Beach, California. PSA, the world's largest sports memorabilia and collectibles authentication and certification service, placed a similar DNA marker on Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball last year.
With Aaron watching, his historic baseball and bat were briefly removed from a display case at the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame Museum at Turner Field in Atlanta so each item should be certified "PSA/DNA Guaranteed Authentic" as an anti-counterfeiting measure.
"I chose PSA/DNA to protect the integrity and secure the authenticity of my 715th home run bat and ball," Aaron said.
Wearing protective white gloves, PSA authenticator Miles Standish carefully "tagged" the ball and bat with a fluid that is invisible to the naked eye, but glows green under the proper laser light frequency. The system was developed by DNA Technologies, Inc. of Los Angeles.
"This is identical to the anti-counterfeiting tactics that will be used for tickets and security passes at next year's Olympic Games in Australia. PSA began using the DNA system last summer to prevent piracy and forgeries of autographs and other collectibles," Standish explained.
Aaron's baseball was marked "715" and "HRK PSA/DNA" on the panel of the ball where it made contact with the bat. The 715 indicated the home run number and HRK stands for "home run king," according to Standish. The bat was marked "715 bat PSA/DNA" near Aaron's burned in signature.
In recent months, PSA has used its PSA/DNA Guaranteed Authentic system to certify autographs signed by sports stars Sammy Sosa, Peyton Manning and Wilt Chamberlain, as well as other celebrities.