The New York Yankees and ballhawk Zack Hample have made a trade. The ball Alex Rodriguez belted for a home run that pushed him into the 3000 hit club is being turned over to the Yankees’ controversial slugger Friday. In return, the Yankees will donate $150,000 to Pitch in for Baseball, which provides new and gently used baseball and softball equipment to youngsters in the United States and around the world who want to play ball but lack the equipment to do so.
Hample, who spends much of his free time going to games and collecting baseballs from players, also has a knack for catching home run balls and he was in the right place at the right time when ARod reached the milestone June 19.
Here’s A-Rod’s 3,000th hit/ball. Told the @Yankees I’m keeping it. Got it authenticated by @MLB. This is un-REAL. pic.twitter.com/qEo2qX9Iru
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 20, 2015
After initially rebuffing attempts by the team to turn the ball over, Hample finally got an offer he couldn’t refuse.
In addition to the donation, Hample is expected to receive memorabilia and tickets from the Yankees.
David Kohler of SCP Auctions told us last month he thought the milestone ball would likely fetch $50,000 or more if Hample decided to consign it. SCP sold ARod’s 500th home run ball for $103,579 in 2010.
It’s a story with no shortage of opinions and fans apparently haven’t been shy about expressing theirs to Hample.
So let me get this straight — I was “disrespecting the game” when I kept the ball & now I’m an “idiot” for giving it back? Ha, whatever.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) July 3, 2015
Late Friday afternoon, the Yankees held a news conference where Hample handed the ball back to Rodriguez.