The man who snared the final home run ball hit at Yankee Stadium is a politician/teacher/football coach. And he’s not from Colorado.
His name was Steve, but he wasn’t from Colorado.
Perched in the outfield seats for the Yankee Stadium finale Sunday night, Steve Harshman grabbed a potentially valuable souvenir when Jose Molina’s home run landed within his reach.
Harshman, it turns out was a long way from home. He identified himself to reporters at the game as "Steve from Colorado". He’s actually Steve Harshman, a Wyoming state representative who is a teacher and head football coach at Natrona County High School near Casper.
Seated next to the netting near the outfield monuments to Yankee greats, Harshman was able to reach through and grab the ball after it had bounced around a few times. He couldn’t get it out, but the Stadium’s security personnel apparently gave him an assist.
Another fan, New Yorker Paul Russo, also claimed ownership of the ball, saying it ended up in his hands after it was removed from the netting. However, Harshman told KCWY-TV in Casper that the ball’s real ownership isn’t in dispute.
"I had the ball on the net and I said, ‘Well, I’m going to pull it right through this netting.’ This guy says, ‘Don’t rip the netting,’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m not letting go of it,’ and he said, ‘All right let’s clear these guys out,’ so they cleared all these guys out and everybody was, ‘Yeah, it’s his ball, everybody back up,’ because they kind of had to roll it down to drop it. So they cleared everybody out and I actually handed it to the security guy through the net and they said, ‘You just release it when you’re ready,’ and so I gave it to him and then he (the security guy) let it down to a guy, another security guy, then a guy jumped up kind of in front of him, grabbed it and they just put him down right away and made him give it back to him. That’s how that all happened, that guy never did have it."
Harshman returned to Casper Monday but said he hadn’t decided what to do with the ball, which if consigned to a major sports memorabilia auction quickly, could fetch high six figures, especially as a public relations tool. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that Harshman kept the ball in his shirt pocket while touring the city before his trip home. When he got back to Wyoming, he spent Tuesday dropping the ball off in a local bank’s safe deposit box…and speaking to a reporter or two.