Guy who snagged A-Rod’s 3,000th hit ball makes his demands to Yankees
The “professional ballhawk” who got his mitts on the ball Alex Rodriguez hit out of the ballpark for his 3,000th hit last Friday at Yankee Stadium made it known on Tuesday exactly what he expects from the New York Yankees if he is to return the coveted piece of historical baseball memorabilia to its arguably rightful owner.
Zack Hample, 37, told NJ Advance Media that his first demand has nothing to do with him directly benefiting from any potential exchange between himself and the Yankees. Instead, Hample, a season ticket holder who boasts that he has snagged over 8,000 balls during his ballhawking career — even writing a book about the art form in which he excels — has asked the Yankees to donate a generous amount to a charity with which he has an affiliation.
“I would still say anything is possible at this point, but I’m trying to make things work with the Yankees,” Hample said. He also indicated on Tuesday that “perhaps make a large donation to the charity and just basically offer support” might do the trick.
Despite the generous notion of asking only for a charitable donation, Hample indicated he is currently compiling a list of things he would like to receive in exchange but insists he won’t “go overboard” with his demands.
Hample was outright uncooperative on Friday when the Yankees approached him about turning over the ball, saying, “I’ve always said if I catch a ball that’s [worth] life-changing money, I would consider selling it, so obviously, that’s what this is,” he said.
Hample added he doesn’t believe A-Rod deserves any generosity on his behalf, or from any fan, for that matter.
“I don’t think this is a million dollar baseball,” he continued. “I do not plan on giving it back to Alex Rodriguez. 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.”
The Yankees reportedly offered Hample “all kinds of memorabilia. Bats, jerseys, signatures, the chance to meet A-Rod, the chance to be on the YES Network, to have my own press conference, tickets, Legends tickets,” per an NJ.com report. A subsequent report indicated that the YES Network sweetened the deal by offering multiple appearances on the network as well as a “‘sizeable’ donation” to a charity of Hample’s choice, an amount Alex Rodriguez would match.
Reports indicate Hample met with Yankees executives after rebuffing their original offer. A team spokesman stated “significant progress” has been made in negotiations.
“It was really nice to spend time with those guys again,” Hample agred. “They have treated me so well.”
Rodriguez, meanwhile, downplayed the personal importance of gaining possession of the baseball.
“Nothing I’ve done in my career could ever compare to winning the championship in 2009 and I don’t have a ball, I don’t have a bat, but I do have a memory and the memory lives forever,” he said. “It’s kind of the same way I feel about the ball.”
(photo image: Zack Hample/Twitter)