Fan with A-Rod's 3,000th ball holding onto it ... for now

Alex Rodriguez Adds Another Milestones With 3,000th Hit

NEW YORK (AP) — The fan at Yankee Stadium who wound up with the ball that Alex Rodriguez launched for his 3,000th hit is holding on to the prized souvenir.

For now, anyway.

"At first, I was 100 percent adamant about not giving the ball back," Zack Hample told The Associated Press by telephone late Friday night. "Now, I'm thinking about it."

"I'm not making any definite decisions tonight and probably not tomorrow, either," he said an hour after New York beat Detroit 7-2. "I want to enjoy the moment."

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Fan with A-Rod's 3,000th ball holding onto it ... for now
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees works out on the field before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 27, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
FILE - OCTOBER 4: According to reports on October 4, 2013, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball. HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees works out on the field before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 27, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates Ichiro Suzuki #31, J.R. Murphy #66, and Brendan Ryan #35 after scoring a grand slam in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on September 20, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 19: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees warms up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 19, 2013 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees watches the flight of his seventh inning grand slam against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on September 20, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Giants 5-1. The home run was the 24th career grand slam for Rodriguez moving him past Lou Gehrig into first place on the all time list. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 11: Alex Rodriguez #13 (L) and Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees look on against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 11, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Third basemen Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees in action against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez looks back to the glove of Baltimore Orioles' Matt Wieters to make sure Wieters caught a third strike foul tip in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, Monday, September 9, 2013. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates his sixth inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 5, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 29: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees loosens up before taking batting practice before the game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees and baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson look on during the teams Old Timer's Day prior to a game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The 37-year-old Hample has some experience in this area. He describes himself as a pro at catching home run balls, has written books about the art and has snagged — get this — a whopping 8,161 baseballs at stadiums around the country.

"Got 12 tonight. Got 11 in batting practice and one during the game by some guy," he said, laughing.

Hample is a New Yorker and a Yankees season-ticket holder. He was in his favorite spot — section 103, row 12, seat 24 — in right field when Rodriguez connected for a solo shot in the first inning.

Hample raised his Rawlings glove, but the crowd surge pushed him forward. Good fortune was on his side, however.

"I looked down and the ball was at my feet. It ricocheted, and it was almost touching my shoe," he said.

Hample snapped up the ball and posted a picture of it on Twitter. Quickly, the Yankees visited him and tried to see what it would take to make a deal. Not an easy negotiation, either.

A day earlier, Hample tweeted about Rodriguez: "That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan."

After talking to the Yankees, Hample posted that he "told the Yankees I'm keeping it."

Rodriguez, meanwhile, later mentioned the fan who snared Derek Jeter's home run ball for his 3,000th hit in 2011. That man was all too eager to return it to the former Yankees star.

"Where's Jeet's guy? That's the guy I needed," Rodriguez said. "I wasn't so lucky."

In the late innings, it appeared to be a lost cause. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said efforts to have the man deal directly with team president Randy Levine didn't work.

"As far as we're concerned, we have done everything we could to engage this guy in some type of discussion about some type of exchange. He had none of anything we were saying. He wouldn't engage at all," Zillo said. "He is not intending to give it to us."

"This guy is pretty well-documented. A professional home run catcher," Zillo said.

Hample has returned balls in the past. He said he gave back the first home runs hit by Mike Trout and Didi Gregorius, free of charge.

"This is something more special," Hample said.

But Hample ended up watching the ninth inning with Levine and Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, and said he's considering what to do.

"They were so nice, and that made me think about what I want to do," Hample said. "There's no right or wrong in this. We'll just see."


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