NEW YORK (AP) The fan at Yankee Stadium who wound up with the ball that Alex Rodriguez launched for his 3,000th hit is holding on to the prize souvenir.
For now, anyway.
”Told the Yankees I’m keeping it,” Zack Hample tweeted during the game Friday night.
The 37-year-old Hample describes himself as a pro at catching home run balls, is credited with collecting more than 8,000 of them and has written books about the art.
Hample was sitting in the right-field seats and got the ball Rodriguez hit for a solo home run in the first inning against Detroit.
A day earlier, Hample tweeted ”that man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.”
Rodriguez mentioned the fan who caught Derek Jeter’s home run ball for his 3,000th hit in 2011. That man was all too eager to return it to the former Yankees star.
”Where’s Jeet’s guy? That’s the guy I needed,” Rodriguez said. ”I wasn’t so lucky.”
After catching the ball, Hample told reporters he had envisioned catching it as ”a one-in-a-million” possibility.
”I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it,” he said. ”Depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back.”
”I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and four autographed bats, because I don’t collect bats. I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me, and I can’t believe that I got it,” he said.
Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said efforts to have the man deal directly with Yankees president Randy Levine didn’t work.
”As far as we’re concerned, we have done everything we could to engage this guy in some type of discussion about some type of exchange. He had none of anything we were saying. He wouldn’t engage at all,” Zillo said. ”He is not intending to give it to us.”
”This guy is pretty well-documented. A professional home run catcher,” Zillo said.