A-Rod Notches 3,000th Hit, Fan Grabs 8,000th+ Ball

The Associated Press

Alex Rodriguez collected his 3,000th hit on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, and he did so in style.

A-Rod sent the first pitch in his first at-bat in the first inning over the short right-field wall in Yankee Stadium. The home run set the tone for the 7-2 Yankees victory over the Detroit Tigers. Rodriguez joins Wade Boggs and former teammate Derek Jeter as the only players to reach the plateau via the longball. The designated hitter belted the solo shot off Justin Verlander.

The catch nearly overshadows the hit. Zack Hample, author of The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches, Watching Baseball Smarter, and How To Snag Major League Baseballs, snagged the souvenir. He wrote the book on it, after all.

Hample boasts more than 8,000 such balls over the course of a quarter century pursuing his hobby. Prior to the game, he Tweeted out that he grabbed a batting practice ball from the Tigers that featured markings from the 2014 postseason. He says he plans not to donate the Rodriguez ball to the Hall of Fame or gift it back to the man who hit it to him but to keep it in his collection for now.

“I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollar in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me,” Hample told reporters. “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.”


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