Ballhawk who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th hit ball says he’s received threats
Zack Hample, the so-called “professional ballhawk” who gained possession of the ball Alex Rodriguez deposited into the Yankee Stadium outfield seats for his 3,000th hit, claims he has received numerous “scary” threats due to his hard-line stance against freely relinquishing the coveted piece of baseball memorabilia to A-Rod.
Hample, 37, tells TMZ that fans have been aggressively imploring him to return the ball to Rodriguez and/or the Yankees and are doing so in a manner that frightens him.
“I try to disregard it,” he said. “But when some people make personal threats and say things, it’s scary.”
Hample became a lightning rod for controversy upon procuring the ball after saying he had no plans to turn it over to the team or the slugger. He also intimated that he very well could sell the baseball and if A-Rod — or the Yankees — want it, they should make an offer.
“I do not plan on giving it back to Alex Rodriguez,” he said last week. “If I choose to sell it, he’s welcome to come bid on it. But I don’t think that A-Rod deserves a favor from a normal civilian like me.”
Hample was downright uncooperative from the onset, disputing any notion that he should just turn over the ball. He later softened his stance by saying indicating the Yankees’ generosity to a charity with which he works may do the trick.
“I would still say anything is possible at this point, but I’m trying to make things work with the Yankees,” he said. He also indicated last Tuesday that “might do the trick. He added he may ask for some stuff for his own benefit, but said he wouldn’t “go overboard” with his demands.
Hample also took issue with accusations that he knocked over women and children in pursuit of the ball, saying those rumors are “all lies.”
Hample told TMZ that despite all the threats, he hasn’t decided just yet what to do with the ball. He also defended how he has conducted himself throughout the ordeal.
“No one has a problem with A-Rod making like $20 or 30 million a year,” he said. “But when some dude catches a baseball he’s supposed to just hand it over to the rich guy.”