The Cardinals fan who jumped on David Freese’s 11th-inning, walk-off home run ball opted not to wait for a handsome payout, deciding instead to personally hand the memento back to the World Series hero.
A mad scramble broke out when Freese’s solo home run cleared the center-field wall at Busch Stadium early Friday, landing on a grassy knoll and capping off an instant classic that tied the series at three games apiece.
Dave Huyette, a 39-year-old radiologist from Maryville, Ill., outside St. Louis, beat everyone to the ball.
He told Yahoo! Sports he was not interested in looking to auction it to the highest bidder. Instead, he was invited down to the Cardinals’ clubhouse, where he traded the ball for a bat signed by Freese, whose triple with two outs in the ninth inning tied the game, and a ball signed by the whole team.
"Maybe if I had been wanting for money, it’d be different," Huyette said. "But I make a good living. I wasn’t going to hold the country hostage for the ball. I told them I didn’t need any money, but it’d be nice to meet some of the players."
Huyette said he and his friend, Cubs fan Jeremy Reiland, had been talking about the possibility of a walk-off home run landing on the grass throughout the game.
"I heard the crack of the bat and everybody cheered and it was kind of in slow motion. I jumped over the fence and (the ball) kind of landed right there. I just tumbled around it, expecting to getting pummeled and beaten to death," Huyette told Yahoo! Sports.
Huyette said he immediately stuffed the ball down his pants so no one would be able to wrestle it away.
Meantime, Huyette’s quick recovery meant Reiland ended up in the Cardinals’ clubhouse wearing a shirt of the archrival Cubs.
"He didn’t tell me he was going to wear that shirt before we came," Huyette joked. "This is ridiculous."