ballcatchers.com

A home run is perfect.
A home run is a gift.
A home run is history.
And sometimes history picks you.
Howie Kendrick
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2019 World Series, Game 7:
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 Alvarez
Sunday, October 27, 2019, 8:30pm
Natonals Park (Washington, DC)
2019 World Series, Game 5: made Jeff Adams an instant celebrity for Bud Light
Who Caught the Ball?
Jeff Adams
Washington, DC
What's the Story?
Adams was wearing a tattered Nationals cap and a weathered Nationals T-shirt. In the game’s second inning, a home run hit by Yordan Alvarez of the Astros sent the ball toward where Adams was walking back to his seat after buying two Bud Lights. Adams turned to the ball and used his chest to stop it, deflecting it to the ground without losing his beers. He then picked it up and continued to his seat. The moment Sunday night was caught on live TV and went viral.

"I was sitting down, my wife went upstairs to get some food ... all of a sudden the ball got hit, I had two beers in my hand, the ball was coming, I watched it, angled, put my chest down, that was it. … Right there - easy," he said, pointing the ball to his upper right chest where it hit.

In an interview with ABC7's Victoria Sanchez, Adams credited his lucky 15-year-old Nationals cap with helping him make the catch. Adams also said he credits his little league coach for his move on the play. "He taught me how to put my chest in front of a ball and let it bounce in front of me. So put my chest in front of it, right? And I angled down," he said. "Sure enough, hit me right in the chest. Went straight down. And I got it."

Adams told The Washington Post he was likely bruised but that the hit didn't hurt too much. "Listen. It’s a World Series baseball. I didn’t feel anything," he said.

"It was from the other team, so I didn't feel anything," Jeff Adams told FOX 5's Ike Ejiochi Sunday. "We're gonna hit more home runs, right? Go Nats."

Unbelievably, Adams came within arm’s reach of catching another home run when Juan Soto went deep in the eighth inning. 

As one social media follower put it: “The internal anguish this man was going through, as he clutched his beers, is truly heroic. Two beers saved and one chest bruised – reward him @budlight.”

A Bud Light staffer was watching Game 5 when they saw Adams, who was standing under a Budweiser sign, grip a beer can in each hand as the ball walloped him. The staffer used WhatsApp to message the marketing team. 

“We had a feeling right away that this would be something big,” digital marketing manager Lindsay Cozen said Thursday. “Our priority was to have something out immediately.”

Minutes later, a tweet appeared on Bud Light’s account. “This man is a hero. Twitter please figure out who this guy is so we can reward him. #WorldSeries,” it said, with a four-second gif of the moment.

They knew they had to identify the fan, find him and design a T-shirt showing him. The shirt design was done in an hour. But they still needed to track down the man. As Sunday turned into Monday, they still hadn’t connected with him.

It took a while for Adams, who’s not on social media, to find out. Eventually, someone told him that they were looking for him.

On Monday morning, Adams called a Bud Light call center and an on-the-ball customer service representative took down his phone number. He was stunned by the response to his moment at the game. “He was just blown away,” Cozen said. “He was still grappling with how he’d become a viral sensation overnight.”

By Monday night, Bud Light had arranged for Adams and a friend to fly to Houston to attend Game 6 on Tuesday night. Adams wore the custom "Always Save The Beers" shirt to the game in Houston, courtesy of Bud Light.

During the Game Six broadcast, the beer company ran a 15-second ad featuring Adams holding on to the beers. “Not all heroes wear capes. Or gloves,” it said. Bud Light shared the spot on Twitter with the caption, "Pain is temporary, glory is forever."

“We were so inspired by the athleticism of Jeff Adams, we knew we had to reward him for his act of heroism in not spilling one drop of his Bud Lights," Bud Light Vice President Andy Goeler said in a press release. "This is the first time we’ve featured a Bud Light fan in a nationally-televised commercial, and he’s the perfect guy to represent baseball and Bud Light fans across the country.”

Bud Light told ABC News they plan to cover his tickets and expenses to stay in Houston for Game 7 on Wednesday.

Following the Nats’ 6-2 Game Seven victory and World Series championship, Bud Light released a second commercial, taking the whole hero thing one step further. “We’re not saying you turned the series, but we’re not saying you didn’t,” read the commercial, titled “Our Good Luck Charm.” “Congratulations Jeff and all Nationals fans,” the commercial added. Sharing the post on their Twitter account, Bud Light wrote, “Started a hero, now a champion. Good thing we made another commercial.”

Marketing experts say the “beer guy” moment is worth an estimated $8 million in exposure for the brand and that we can expect to see more ads that seize on what they called viral events.
Jose Altuve
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2019 ALCS, Game 6: won the AL pennant for the Houston Astros
Who Caught the Ball?
Brett Gardner
36, New York Yankees
What's the Story?
Altuve hit his home run with a 2-1 count and 2 outs off an 84 mph hanging slider from Aroldis Chapman. The home run ball bounced off the facade in left field and back on to the field. Yankees leftfielder Brett Gardner picked it up. He saw Houston bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte walking past him toward the pile of Astros gathering at home plate.

“Here,” Gardner said, handing him the ball. “Take this. You guys are a great team. Now go win the World Series. Represent the American League well.”

Said Bracamonte, “It was so classy. And Aaron Judge gave me a hug and said the same thing. I have so much respect for those guys.”

Bracamonte then gave the ball to an MLB authenticator and joined the celebration with his teammates.
Howie Kendrick
Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 9:23pm
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
2019 NLDS, Game 5: grand slam gives Washington the lead and eventual NLDS win
Who Caught the Ball?
What's the Story?
Kendrick hit Kelly's 0-1 pitch over the center field wall. The grand slam broke a tie in the 10th inning, ultimately leading to Washington's win and defeat of the Dodgers in the NLDS, Washington's first playoff series win and sending Washington to the NLCS for the first time. This is arguably the biggest hit in franchise history, even counting the 37 years of Expos history.

The ball cleared the fence and fell between the wall and the stands, just behind a photographer. The ball was presumably retrieved by stadium officials, but this has not been confirmed.
Babe Ruth
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Forbes Field (Pittsburgh)
714th and final career home run
Who Caught the Ball?
Henry "Wiggy" DeOrio
23
Panther Hollow, Pittsburgh
What's the Story?
On this day, Ruth showcased his old power. He had already connected for two homers, the initial blast coming in the first inning off Pirates starter Red Lucas, while Babe’s second homer came off reliever Bush in the third inning.

Career home run No. 714 came on a 3-1 count and bettered the earlier efforts, majestically clearing Forbes Field’s right field roof—for the first time in the ballpark’s 26-year history.

“The way he smacked it, you knew it was gone. The crowd just roared,” Paul Warhola, brother of iconic Pittsburgh pop artist Andy Warhol, remembered. “He was fat and old but he still had that great swing,” was sportswriter Robert W. Creamer’s retrospective take.

In an interview from 1974, the 62-year-old Bush recalled both homers he surrendered that day:

“The first one he hit off me was a ball hit off the handle. He pulled it about eight or ten feet fair and it just fell into the stands. Just a short fly ball was all it was. Well, it made me so mad I said, ‘The next time I face him I’m going to blow three straight fast-balls right by him.’ And that's what I started out to do. I got the first one by him all right. But the second one ... well, he got ahold of that ball and hit it clear over the triple deck, clear out of the ballpark in right-center. I’m telling you it was the longest cockeyed ball I ever saw hit in my life.”

Ruth’s third home run ball left the cavernous ballpark, with eyewitnesses claiming that it cleared the right field stands by some 50 feet. Its next stop was well over 500 feet from home plate, bounding off Frank Munizza’s rooftop at 334 Joncaire Street. The ball deflected into Bouquet Street, where it was chased down by a small group of boys.

Eventually, the ball came to rest at 51 Boundary Street, hundreds of feet down the block from Munizza’s home. There, 23-year-old Henry DeOrio found the ball in the backyard of his home. According to the Pittsburgh Gazette, “the finder of the souvenir rocket lost little time in running down the Bambino, who affixed his signature thereto.” DeOrio later approached Ruth at the Schenley Hotel to get it autographed.

Though the signature had long since faded, DeOrio kept the historic baseball until 1948, when he sent it to Baseball Commissioner Albert “Happy” Chandler. Chandler, in turn, forwarded the ball along to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. And today, the sacred relic is on display in the Museum’s second floor exhibit titled “Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend,” the baseball’s long journey into history now complete.
Albert Pujols
Saturday, June 3, 2017, 8:46pm
Angel Stadium (Anaheim)
600th career home run
Who Caught the Ball?
Scotty Steffel
23, student at California State University-Fullerton
Costa Mesa, California
What's the Story?
The Angels slugger belted his 600th career home run, a towering grand slam to the short left-field porch at Angel Stadium. Pujols hit a 87 mph slider off of Twins pitcher Ervin Santana on a 1-2 slider count with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Albert Pujols is the first player to get his 600th home run with a grand slam. He is the ninth member of the 600 home run club and the fourth youngest, trailing only Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth.

After a scramble in the seats, Scotty Steffel emerged with the ball.

In the top of the 6th inning, Steffel joined Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza in the Fox Sports broadcast booth. Steffel explained that he was at the game with his father and brother and that he had been to the Angels game a few days earlier when Pujols hit home run #599.

After the game, Pujols was interviewed on the field. Steffel presented the ball to Pujols and got a hug in return.
Jose Bautista
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Rogers Centre (Toronto)
2015 ALDS, Game 5: home run gives Toronto the lead and eventual win
Who Caught the Ball?
Jeff Byma
31, cabinet maker
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
What's the Story?
Pitcher Sam Dyson missed belt-high and in. Before the announcer even finished giving the count, the 1-1 from Dyson , Bautista pulled a line drive home run to left field, and the crowd exploded in a sheer, primal wall of noise.

Bautista responded with one of the most famous and controversial bat flips in baseball history.

The three-run blast to put the Jays up 6-3 in Game 5 of the ALDS. The Blue Jays went on to win the game and ALDS but lost to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in the ALCS.

Jeff Byma grabbed the ball from the floor beneath his seat after it bounced off the second deck. Byma said there were a few frantic moments as he fought to get his hands on the home-run ball as it bounced around the floor of Section 138.

"It hits the wall above us, comes down right to my feet and I just jumped on it. Soon as I saw it come down near my feet, I went for it. Hands and knees on the ground, under my seat. Picked it up and it was amazing. I gripped it. I couldn't believe it. I hugged my girlfriend right away [we were] screaming at the top of our lungs. It was unbelievable."

Perhaps equally unbelievable was that Byma was willing to return the valuable ball to Bautista. But he did not hear back from Bautista or the Blue Jays. Byma was asked what he would seek by way of compensation for the ball, and he responded, "I'm not going to ask for anything in return. It's probably his biggest hit of his career, so if he wants it, I'll be happy to hand it over to him. I'd love to at least meet him and shake his hand and congratulate him on his home run and return it to him."

"Let's be realistic. If they offer me something, I'll take it, but I'm not going to go in there demanding anything," he said. Byma said he's happy to keep the home run ball in "a secure location" inside a display case.

In the days after the catch, Byma was inundated with fans offering him everything from $8,500 to a pick-up truck in exchange for the piece of memorabilia.

Byma kept the ball for approximately two years before selling it to a private collector.

In January 2019, it was announced that the ball would be auctioned by Lelands. A Lelands spokesman estimated the ball would sell for at least $8,000.

On February 2, 2019, it was announced that the ball had sold for $28,252.80. Bidders were anonymous.
David Ortiz
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg)
500th career home run
Who Caught the Ball?
Alan Schuster
35, web developer
VA
What's the Story?
On a 2-2 count, Ortiz launched an 80 mph breaking ball from Matt Moore deep into the right-center-field seats at Tropicana Field to lead off the fifth inning. Moore stepped off the mound and watched.

A man from Virginia wearing an Orioles shirt caught the ball. The fan, who asked to remain anonymous, was escorted out of the stands after the ball was authenticated and later met Ortiz.

"He was very nice. He handed it to me, no problem," Ortiz said. "I really appreciate it. We had a very nice package for him."

The fan is also choosing to stay anonymous for now, something Ortiz appreciates.

"He doesn't want many people to know about him, so I've got to respect that about him," he said.

Alan Schuster later came forward as the fan who caught the ball. He gave the ball to Ortiz that night in exchange for some undisclosed "perks" from the Red Sox. Schuster is choosing to keep the details of the exchange private.
Alex Rodriguez
Friday, June 19, 2015
Yankee Stadium (New York)
3000th career hit
Who Caught the Ball?
Zack Hample
37, sportswriter
New York, NY
What's the Story?
According to his website, Hample has snagged more than 8,000 baseballs across 51 major league stadiums since 1990. He's written three books, including "How To Snag Major League Baseballs," and has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Hample was sitting in the right-field seats when Rodriguez hit the first-inning solo home run.

"My intention all along, I've been imagining this scenario as a one-in-a-million, was not to give it back," Hample told reporters. "You know, just because the guy who got Jeter's 3,000th hit, a lot of people called him an idiot. A lot of people said that he was a wonderful person and extremely generous. And I really think that, whatever you want to do with it is your choice."

"I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn't really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don't know right now if I'm going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I'm not giving it back for -- I don't plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and full autographed bats because I don't collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me. I can't believe that I got it."

"[Yankees head of security] Eddie Fastook was the first person who spoke to me after I snagged the baseball and he made a number of generous offers," Hample said. "By the end of the game, I heard that [Yankees president Randy Levine] wanted to speak with me. So I went up into his office, and [chief operating officer Lonn Trost] was there, as well."

"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," Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said. "He had none of anything we were saying. He wouldn't engage at all."

Rodriguez mentioned the fan who caught 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 after the game. "I wasn't so lucky." But Rodriguez claimed that he didn't care much about getting the ball back. "Maybe years ago that would have been kind of an important thing for me," Rodriguez said. "By far, nothing that I've done personally would ever compare to winning the championship in 2009. I don't have a ball, I don't have a bat from that, but I do have a memory, and the memory lives forever. Kind of the same way I feel about today."

The Yankees continued to try to negotiate with Hample, who was persistent in his reluctance. David Kohler of SCP Auctions, which sold Rodriguez's 500th home run ball for $105,000, said that the 3,000th hit ball is worth more than $50,000.

After two weeks of negotiations, the Yankees agreed to donate $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity Hample supports that helps underserved communities afford to play the game. Hample will also receive some memorabilia, tickets and other perks from the Yankees.

"Something kind of went off in my head at that point, and I thought, 'Hmmm, all right, a few hours ago there was no way I was giving it back,'" Hample said. "When that generous offer was made by Mr. Levine, I thought, 'All right, now I have to consider that.'"

"Really, the thing that stuck out in my mind was how kind the Yankees were and how generous, and how well they treated me. I really was thinking Pitch In for Baseball and how I could use the situation to help them."

"They were just so nice," Hample said of his dealings with Levine and Yankees COO Lonn Trost. "It was just unbelievable how cool those guys were. They didn't pressure me or bully me or use any sort of sinister tactics. They just wanted to have a conversation to get to know me. Mr. Levine said he had heard me being spoken about on the air. 'Eight-thousand baseballs, what is the story?' I told him about my collection, how I've worked in baseball over the years, on and off. I mentioned my involvement with the charity Pitch In For Baseball. At that point, a little light bulb went off in his head."

At a Yankee Stadium news conference, Hample reached into his backpack and presented the ball -- which he had kept safe in a bag -- to Rodriguez. He then apologized to Rodriguez for negative things he expressed earlier on Twitter, and Rodriguez both thanked and forgave him.

"You are forgiven," Rodriguez said. "I have a Ph.D. in saying some dumb things over the years, so I can probably actually relate." Then, when the laughter subsided, Rodriguez took a moment to reflect. He plans on giving the ball to his daughters.
Alex Rodriguez
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 5:07pm
Yankee Stadium (New York)
661st career home run, passing Willie Mays' career total
Who Caught the Ball?
What's the Story?
Number 661 came on a 1-1 pitch from Chris Tillman, a hanging changeup, and Rodriguez belted it into the runway between Monument Park and the visitors bullpen in left-center field.

The ball was likely retrieved by stadium officials and returned to Rodriguez.
Yordan Alvarez
Sunday, October 27, 2019, 8:30pm • Natonals Park (Washington, DC)
2019 World Series, Game 5: made Jeff Adams an instant celebrity for Bud Light
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Jose Altuve
Sunday, October 20, 2019 • Minute Maid Park (Houston)
2019 ALCS, Game 6: won the AL pennant for the Houston Astros
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Howie Kendrick
Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 9:23pm • Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
2019 NLDS, Game 5: grand slam gives Washington the lead and eventual NLDS win
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Albert Pujols
Saturday, June 3, 2017, 8:46pm • Angel Stadium (Anaheim)
600th career home run
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Jose Bautista
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 • Rogers Centre (Toronto)
2015 ALDS, Game 5: home run gives Toronto the lead and eventual win
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David Ortiz
Saturday, September 12, 2015 • Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg)
500th career home run
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Alex Rodriguez
Friday, June 19, 2015 • Yankee Stadium (New York)
3000th career hit
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Alex Rodriguez
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 5:07pm • Yankee Stadium (New York)
661st career home run, passing Willie Mays' career total
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