As the world knows, Derek Jeter became the first New York Yankee to record 3,000 hits in his career, doing so in dramatic fashion with a home run.
Of course, dealing with a sports collectibles magazine, that immediately caught my attention because it’s rather rare that a milestone hit such as that ends up in the stands as a home run. A simple single would have resulted in a time out in play and the ball quickly squirreled away for safekeeping.
I did not see the play live, having caught the news later in the day with some family members. After we found out it was a home run, my cousin immediately said, “What’s he going to do with the ball?” Well, the 23-year-old who retrieved the ball gave it back, without hesitation.
There will be no battling by auction houses to see who gets to put the ball up for bid. There will be no build-up to its worth (estimated anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000). In this case, the lucky fan got to meet Jeter, grabbed some autographed items and gets access to a suite for the remaining home games this year. Not a bad deal in the end, since he didn’t ask for all of that.
But as a 23-year-old former student with plenty of loans, would you have done the same? For some, it’s all about the money. You know with Jeter, Yankees and 3,000 hits all rolled into one collectible, it would have gotten a lot of money on the secondary market.
I’d like to say I would have done the same thing, and I think I would have. This guy will get (if he hasn’t already) plenty of publicity for his kind act and not have the hassle of dealing with the ball, its suitors and the tax man (although some articles have already talked about him having to pay taxes for the items he did receive).
I’m glad it landed where it did so there wasn’t a huge scrum for the ball and the now accustomed legal battle of who truly had possession of the ball. This was straightforward and the ending was the way it should have been.