Fan Gave Jeter’s 3,000 Ball Back Because It Was ‘The Right Thing’
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(WSCR) In the third inning of Sunday’s Yankees-Rays game, Derek Jeter hit a home run. It was the 237th home run of his career. But more importantly, it was the 3,000th hit of his career, and the fan who caught the ball passed up a big pay day to return it to the Yankees’ captain.
“I had people estimating [the ball’s value] anywhere from $100,000, $250,000 to $500,000,” Christian Lopez said on the Mully and Hanley Show. “Some people even said a $1 million, if people really wanted the ball.”
But instead of cashing in on his part of history, Lopez said he wanted to give the ball back to Jeter. And even now, knowing how much money he could have received for the ball, Lopez has no regrets.
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“Not at all,” he said. “I think looking back on it, I mean, I did the right thing. I mean, I think any true baseball fan, sports fan, whatever you want call it, I think would have done the same thing.”
While he’s not sitting on a much larger bank account, Lopez is reaping some benefits from being in the right place at the right time. According to the Associated Press, Lopez received four front-row Legends seats for the remainder of the 2011 season, including the postseason, along with three bats and three balls signed by Jeter, plus two jerseys autographed by Jeter.
His home run made Jeter just the 28th member of the 3,000 club, and that alone, in Lopez’s mind, warranted an easy return of the ball.
“I mean the guy deserved it,” Lopez said. “He’s been working for this ever since he was a kid.”