ballcatchers.com

A home run is perfect.
A home run is a gift.
A home run is history.
And sometimes history picks you.
Yordan Álvarez
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2022 ALDS, Game 1
Who Caught the Ball?
Dillon Harrell
26, realtor
New Caney, Texas
What's the Story?
Harrell, a lifelong Astros fan, was surprised with tickets to Game 1 of the ALDS for his birthday.

“It was my birthday so my mom, sister, and best friend surprised me with tickets. No lie, my sister said, ‘I got them in the perfect spot to watch Yordan hit a homer.’ I’ll never hear the end of her saying she called it,” Harrell said to KHOU 11 News. She "picked the seats that Yordan normally hits all the big home runs." They sat in section 253, row 6 at Minute Maid Park.

Yordan Álvarez sent a three-run, 438-foot shot to the upper deck in right field. The two-out, three-run home run to give Houston a dramatic, walk-off 8-7 win. 

”If there could be a perfect scenario, that was it and there it was,” said Harrell, as he watched the cellphone video his sister captured. “He hit it right there, and you can see it just see it coming right at us and, ‘Boom,’ it landed and then I’m on the ground and you can see that’s my best friend. He pulled me up and then my sister realized I had the ball and then it was pure chaos. That had to be the craziest moment of my life. That was pretty wild. To sit there and see all the people around you taking pictures and screaming go Astros.”

Harrell said he has no intentions of selling the ball and will likely lock it away and keep it for himself. The only person he would be willing to give the ball to is Álvarez himself.

“I don’t put in any work to make sure that this ball makes it out into the stands. He does. And if he wants the ball, I’ll be more than happy to give it to him because this is his ball. This is what he’s worked his whole life and dedicated his whole life to be able to hit this baseball,” he said.

Álvarez denied the ball when he learned that it was the fan’s birthday. Through an interpreter, Alvarez said, “what better gift than for him to be able to keep the ball.”

Prior to Game 2 on Thursday morning outside the Minute Maid Park, the Astros slugger met up with Harrell, told him to keep it, and signed it. Álvarez also put his signature on Harrell’s jersey, one bearing Álvarez's name on the back. Álvarez also gave him and his family tickets to that afternoon's contest.

“That’s some wild stuff right there," Harrell said. "I never thought he’d just walk up."

“That’s something I’ll never forget. That’s a memory of a lifetime.”
Aaron Judge
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Globe Life Field (Arlington)
62nd, breaking Roger Maris' single-season AL record
Who Caught the Ball?
Cory Youmans
35, vice president at investment firm
Dallas, Texas
What's the Story?
It all started when a friend offered a ticket to the game and Youmans agreed to go for one particular reason.

"This game was all about seeing Aaron Judge in person," Youmans said. "I am still in awe of his ability. As a baseball fan and an American, I'm just so happy Aaron is the face of America's pastime. It's his moment, and he's the right man for it."

Leading off the second game of a day-night doubleheader, Judge, 30, drove an 88 mph, 1-1 slider from Jesús Tinoco toward the left-field seats. When the ball cleared the infield, Youmans realized it was coming in his direction. He had never caught a baseball at a game. He kept telling himself not to drop it.

"I have this fear of ending up on SportsCenter Not Top 10," Youmans said, "so my initial feeling was pure relief that I wasn't the guy that dropped No. 62 or ended up wearing my beer."

He did neither. His glove extended in front of one on the hand of a Grand Prairie, Texas, man named Todd Smith, and when the ball popped in it, fans patted Youmans on the back, congratulated him and watched security whisk him toward a room where he paced for a few minutes.

Another fan in the front row of the left field stands at Globe Life Field made the split-second decision to leap from his seat down to the ground in hopes that Judge’s home run ball fell in front of the stands, but it did not. The fan was unhurt but was kicked out of the stadium for his actions, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Youmans was standing in the first row of standing in Section 31 and caught the ball with his black Mizuno glove.

https://www.tiktok.com/@yazzelle7/video/7151002474185313579

Yankees executive director of security Eddie Fastook arrived and said if Youmans wanted to meet Judge and exchange the ball for memorabilia, photographs and tickets, he would be the one to arrange that. Youmans said he preferred not to decide on the spot -- "Eddie is great at his job," he said, "so telling him no was really hard" -- and waited for an authenticator to check the ball. Discussions with a Yankees security official were pleasant, he said, but did not lead to a deal to return the ball to Judge.

The special markings on balls thrown to Judge as he approached Roger Maris' record confirmed Youmans was holding No. 62, and an authentication sticker affixed to the ball endorsed that.

Asked what he was going to do with the ball, Youmans said, “That’s a good question! I haven’t thought about it!”

With the ball verified, Youmans asked if he could leave the stadium. Two security personnel spirited him to a golf cart and drove through the interior of the stadium so Youmans could avoid any hassle. He stopped to meet Rangers owner Ray Davis and president Neil Leibman before departing through the players' entrance.

On the drive home, Youmans received a text from Amaranthus asking if he was near their apartment. Someone had shared their address on social media. Rather than stay the night and risk any issues, Youmans and Amaranthus packed their dog in the car and spent a few days at a friend's house.

The social media speculation alluding to Youmans' wealth, he said, was spurious. While he does work in financial services, he said, "We are not millionaires, and we enjoy the $3 red blend from Trader Joe's as much as anything." He and Amaranthus, he said, have been saving to buy their first house, and Youmans hopes to build a shop for his grandfather, a retired welder who works on classic cars, recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary and had been planning to move. Youmans moved in with his grandparents at 13, he said, and his grandfather delayed retirement to send him to private school, following which Youmans became the first college graduate in his family.

After being diagnosed with melanoma earlier this year, Youmans said he and Amaranthus refocused their priorities, vowing to travel the world. "Meeting people from different cultures is a major priority for us at this stage of life," Youmans said, and selling the ball would allow for such adventures.

Youmans said he wanted to lend the ball to the Yankees to display during the postseason, "but unfortunately it didn't materialize." He remained silent publicly, he said, not to distract the Yankees during their playoff run, which ended in an American League Championship Series sweep by the Houston Astros.

Asked after the 3-2 loss if he’d gotten the ball, Judge said, “not yet.”

“I don’t know where it’s at,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with that. It would be great to get it back, but that’s a souvenir for a fan. He made a great catch out there, and they’ve got every right to it.”

Soon after a local TV station posted a brief interview with Youmans in a walkway, his wife Bri Amaranthus tweeted: “THIS IS MY HUSBAND.” Amaranthus works in local media as a sports reporter and identifies herself in her Twitter bio as an alum of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

Judge’s 62nd home run ball is worth $2 million, at a minimum. JP Cohen, the president of Memory Lane, put out that offer on the ball before it was even hit. He said his company has a good relationship with the Yankees and it would be willing to loan the ball to the team for an exhibit. He added the team has frequently exhibited items owned by Memory Lane at Yankee Stadium.

"We did make an offer of $2 million, and that offer is still valid," Cohen told the Associated Press. “I feel the offer is way above fair, if he is inclined to sell it.”

With a starting point of $2 million, the ball could end up breaking another record and sell for more than the $3 million that was paid for Mark McGwire’s record 70th home run from the 1998 season.

Youmans told ESPN that "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and his lawyer, Dave Baron, they decided to sell the ball with the Goldin Auctions house.

"We've already had an offer for $3 million," said Baron, Youmans' attorney. "Talking to the auction people, they don't really commit to a number, but they said it just could be significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction."

“It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it," Youmans said. "As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it.” Ideally, Youmans said, the ball would wind up with Judge, the Yankees or the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but the conduit will need to run through the auction, which Goldin said on its Instagram page would start Nov. 29.

Some of the money could find its way to Judge's All Rise Foundation -- similar to the large donations of Philip Ozersky, who caught McGwire's 70th home run and supported multiple charities. Youmans said he contacted the foundation and that its "mission really resonates with me: to inspire children to have hope for their future."

"It's a full-circle moment for me," Youmans said, "because 25 years ago, I would have benefited from their help and would love to pay it forward."

Judge, speaking to reporters on a conference call after winning the AL MVP award, was told Youmans turned down $3 million for the ball.

“That's a lot of money. But I guess he's got a better plan or thinks he can get some more," Judge said. "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.”

Judge also said he will not be bidding on the ball, joking, "I haven't signed my free agent deal yet, so I think that's a little out of my price range right now."
Aaron Judge
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Rogers Centre (Toronto)
61st, tying Roger Maris' single-season AL record
Who Caught the Ball?
Matt Buschmann
38, Blue Jays bullpen coach
What's the Story?
Judge launched a 94 mph sinker off of Toronto Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza in the seventh inning on Wednesday to secure a 5-3 lead for the New York Yankees en route to an 8-3 win. The two-run blast was his 61st of the season to tie Roger Maris for the most single-season home runs in AL history.

A fan wearing a dark blue jersey reached over the railing just short of the ball as it bounced off the wall and into the bullpen. Anther fan in a light blue jersey reached across and may have gotten in the way of the guy who might have had a chance to catch it.

Our would-be hero in dark blue — who turns out to be a Bo Bichette fan — immediately removed his glove and chucked it into his neighbor's head in disgust. Our light-blue clad villain could only manage a surrender cobra that's destined for Twitter meme-dom.

Experts have estimated the ball to be worth $150,000 — on the low end. Others have estimated that it would fetch between $250,000 and $400,000 on the auction block. We might never know.

Per The Canadian Press, the guy in the light blue jersey is a 37-year-old Toronto restaurant owner who goes by Frankie Lasagna. He told the Press that he would have kept the ball.

“I would have held on to it for as long as I could (to) negotiate,” he said. “Maybe get Judge to try to come to the restaurant.”

As for the guy in the Bichette jersey? He declined to comment. He'd clearly had enough.

Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann snagged the ball and gave it to Yankees pitcher Zack Britton. The ball made its way back to Judge, who gave it to his mom.
Albert Pujols
Friday, September 23, 2022
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
700th career home run
Who Caught the Ball?
Marlowe Leal
27
Los Angeles, California
What's the Story?
In the fourth inning, Pujols drilled a center-cut 80.8 mph slider from Bickford high into the LA night (5.9 seconds of hang time) for a home run that traveled 389 feet. Asked what message he might have for Bickford, his Dodgers teammate last season, Pujols said: “I’m going to tell him thank you for hanging that slider!”

The ball landed in the first couple rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning.

The fan who got the ball remained unidentified and planned to keep the baseball, according to Ben Verlander of Fox Sports. After having the ball authenticated, offers were presented, but he left the stadium with the ball, according to officials.

The decision will surely bring about some controversy, but Pujols himself did his best to shut down any further conversation about the fan keeping the ball. The future Hall of Famer explained that he would happily accept the ball back, but that he didn’t have any problem with the fan holding onto the historic souvenir.

“Souvenirs are for the fans. I don’t have any problem if they want to keep it,” Pujols said postgame, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “If they want to give it back, that’s great. But at the end of the day, I don’t focus on material stuff.”

Marlowe Leal co-signed with Goldin Auctions to sell the prized possession. The ball went up for auction on October 25 for $25,000 and ultimately sold on November 5 for $360,000. The price includes the usual 20% buyer’s premium tacked on to all winning bids. We don’t currently know the identity of the auction winner, and presumably it would be up to him or her whether they wanted to be known publicly.

Leal plans to give some of the money back to youth baseball programs. He also refers to the money as “life-changing,” though, so it sounds like most of it is going into his bank account.
Albert Pujols
Sunday, September 11, 2022
PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
697th career home run, passing Alex Rodriguez's career total
Who Caught the Ball?
Matt Brown
32, software engineer
Buffalo, New York
What's the Story?
The home run was a game-winner to cap a four-run ninth inning that gave the Cardinals a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park before a crowd of 10,398 that got to see a little bit of history.

The ball was caught by Pirates fans Matt and Samantha Brown. It had ricocheted off a couple of seats in right-center field.

The Browns met with Pujols after the game, according to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat. The pair was attending the game on the one-year anniversary of the death of Samantha’s father. When they offered the historic home run ball back to Pujols, the 42-year-old slugger declined, insisting that the ball would mean more to Samantha than it would to him. He also signed two additional baseballs for them.

“I just feel that it was a sign that we got (the ball),” she said.

“Albert, you’re really going to walk away from that?” asked Matt Brown.

“It’s all good,” Pujols said. “I have plenty of baseballs. She deserves it more than me.”

“Thank you,” Samantha said, failing to fight back tears and her voice cracking. She was wearing a Cervelli Pirates jersey in honor of popular former Pittsburgh catcher Francisco Cervelli, and she and her husband got another signed ball from Pujols.

Later, Pujols said, “It’s just a baseball. They deserve to have it. It went out of the ballpark. We play this game for the fans. So whether they want to give it back or they want to keep it, I don’t have any problem with it.

“I think it means more to that girl than it means to me having it in my trophy case. She lost her dad, so I think that’s a piece of memorabilia that she can have.”
Albert Pujols
Saturday, September 10, 2022
PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
696th career home run, tying Alex Rodriguez's career total
Who Caught the Ball?
?
What's the Story?
Pujols cranked a first-pitch slider 418 feet into the left-field stands.

The ball bounced into the concourse just beyond the left field foul pole.
Miguel Cabrera
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Rogers Centre (Toronto)
500th career home run
Who Caught the Ball?
Tim Remes
29, bullpen catcher, Detroit Tigers
Coral Springs, Florida
What's the Story?
MLB used special baseballs for Miguel Cabrera's plate appearances after he reached 499 home runs. Cabrera crushed his 500th home run, the m-113 ball, on Sunday in Toronto.

Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch from left-hander Steven Matz, drilled it on a line (104 mph off the bat) over the scoreboard in right-center field. The 400-foot homer tied the score at 1.

The 14,685 fans at Rogers Centre rose for a standing ovation as Cabrera rounded the bases. After celebrating with his teammates, the Tigers slugger came out of the dugout to accept a curtain call, taking off his helmet and bowing to the crowd behind Detroit's dugout.

The ball fell into the open area between the fence and first level of the bleachers, in the batting cage area next to the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen. It was retrieved by Tigers bullpen catcher Tim Remes. After the ball was verified by MLB authenticators, Remes then presented it to Cabrera in the Tigers’ clubhouse. The 38-year-old said he appreciated Remes for taking care of it.

Tigers director of player relations and authentics Jordan Field said, "Miguel wants the ball. Miguel's priority is the ball. The Baseball Hall of Fame has requested the batting helmet. That's all they've asked for. I suspect when the dust settles on the season, Miguel will also be happy to have maybe the bat, maybe the jersey. But he's asked for the ball."

"I'm going to save it somewhere in my house," Cabrera said. "I'm excited."
Albert Pujols
Friday, September 18, 2020
Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim)
661st career home run, passing Willie Mays' career total
Who Caught the Ball?
?
What's the Story?
Pujols passed Mays with a solo drive to left. Pujols sent a 1-2 fastball from Wes Benjamin into the Rangers' bullpen. Pujols pointed to the dugout and did a fist pump as he approached third base.
Albert Pujols
Monday, September 14, 2020
Coors Field (Denver)
660th career home run, tying Willie Mays' career total
Who Caught the Ball?
?
What's the Story?
With the Angels trailing 3-2, Pujols launched a fastball from Colorado Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez into the empty seats in left field at Coors Field for a two-run drive in the eighth inning.

The ball was easily retrieved from the stands with no fans to fight over the keepsake -- or celebrate the milestone. Pujols will keep the ball, but his bat went to third-base coach Brian Butterfield, a Mays fan.
Howie Kendrick
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2019 World Series, Game 7: gave the Nationals the lead
Who Caught the Ball?
?
What's the Story?
Perhaps the apex crowd-silencer: trailing by a run late in Game 7 of the World Series, playing in one of the loudest atmospheres in baseball, and making it so quiet that all anyone can hear is the "clang" off the foul pole reverberating into the night.

The ball bounced back onto the field and hit Houston outfielder George Springer's leg.
Yordan Álvarez
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 • Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2022 ALDS, Game 1
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Aaron Judge
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 • Globe Life Field (Arlington)
62nd, breaking Roger Maris' single-season AL record
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Aaron Judge
Wednesday, September 28, 2022 • Rogers Centre (Toronto)
61st, tying Roger Maris' single-season AL record
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Albert Pujols
Friday, September 23, 2022 • Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
700th career home run
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Albert Pujols
Sunday, September 11, 2022 • PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
697th career home run, passing Alex Rodriguez's career total
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Albert Pujols
Saturday, September 10, 2022 • PNC Park (Pittsburgh)
696th career home run, tying Alex Rodriguez's career total
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Miguel Cabrera
Sunday, August 22, 2021 • Rogers Centre (Toronto)
500th career home run
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Albert Pujols
Friday, September 18, 2020 • Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim)
661st career home run, passing Willie Mays' career total
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Albert Pujols
Monday, September 14, 2020 • Coors Field (Denver)
660th career home run, tying Willie Mays' career total
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Howie Kendrick
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 • Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2019 World Series, Game 7: gave the Nationals the lead
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