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Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit came in unforgettable fashion — a home run off Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander.
A-Rod slugged the ball into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium on June 19 and a fan from New York City by the name of Zack Hample claims he has it.
We’ve seen this before — a milestone ball gets to a fan and said fan just isn’t going to give the ball back.
The Yankees have enough experience negotiating contracts. But can they get the 3K ball back from Zack?
Here’s what you need to know about Hample:
1. Hample Says He Has A-Rod’s 3000 Hit Ball
Hample said he’s in possession of the ball hit by A-Rod on Friday, June 19, vs. the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
Hample didn’t catch the ball on a fly, but was able to retrieve it after several fans tried to fight for it, but couldn’t get control.
2. Hample Claims to Have Caught More Than 8,000 Foul Balls
Hample claims to have caught over 8,000 foul balls in his life. Most people go their entire lives without getting one, much less 8,000.
The 37-year-old made an appearance on the “Conan O’Brien Show” in 2009 and has been featured in blogs on MLB.com.
Side note: Conan apparently was not a fan of Zack. The late night show host told Hample: “I think you’re the worst man in America.”
Zack wasn’t too fond of Conan, either. From Hample’s website:
What was your worst interview?
The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. That guy is a certifiable a*shole. I understand that it was late-night television, but man, he went way too far. When I was pre-interviewed by the segment producer, she asked if there was anything in particular that I wanted to discuss on the air, and I said, “Yes, if there’s only ONE thing I get to talk about, I really want it to be my charity fundraiser,” and she was like, “No problem, I’ll make sure that Conan asks you about it.” Well, not only *didn’t* Conan ask me about it, but when I tried to mention it, he cut me off twice, and when I finally forced it into the conversation, he made fun of me and succeeded in making me look like a schmuck. I’m still pissed at him, but I’m even angrier at myself for stooping to his level. It was bad.
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3. He Is An Author & Collector
On his website ZackHample.com, Hample promotes his 3 books — “Watching Baseball Smarter,” “The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals & Secrets Beneath the Stitches” and “How to Snag Major League Baseballs.”
He’s caught thousands; if you’re interested in getting one the next time you are at the stadium, might want to read that last one.
On his Twitter account — @zack_hample — his bio reads “Baseball collector, published author, Arkanoid world champion, etc.”
Hample also works for a charitable organization called Pitch In For Baseball.
4. The Yankees Are Negotiating With Hample to Get the Ball Back
Hample said he was first approached by the Yankees head of security, who offered some items to get the ball back. But Hample has been down this road before and declined.
Next thing you know he was in the Yankees’ brass offices meeting with team president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost.
Of the negotiations, the Yankees said “substantial progress” has been made in retrieving the ball.
A-Rod, too, was delighted to hear the 3K baseball could be back in his hands and that the Yankees were going to bat for him.
“I’m flattered,” said the newest member of the 3,000 Hit Club.
5. Hample Said He Wouldn’t Give the Ball Back
On Thursday [June 18], someone asked Hample on Twitter what he’d do if A-Rod hit a home run for his 3,000th hit and he caught it. In a since-deleted tweet, Hample replied, “I’ll give him the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.”
Then on Tuesday, Hample kind of backtracked and said:
Looking back on that now I completely regret that,” Hample said Tuesday. “I’m sorry for what I said. I certainly was thinking some negative thoughts when this first happened, but upon further reflection, taking the ball with me from the Stadium that night and having time to think things over, I’m not feeling any negativity right now. I’m trying to think positive thoughts and come up with a way the Yankees and A-Rod can get the ball and be happy, maybe make a nice contribution to charity. Maybe some perks will come my way at the Stadium, maybe some memorabilia I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten my hands on. I’m envisioning a scenario where everybody comes out of this feeling good.