Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th career hit
This is the most valuable baseball I’ve ever snagged — BY FAR. The "R" stands for "Rodriguez," and the "1" indicates that it was the first specially marked ball of the game that was put into play for his at-bats. Those markings were already there when I grabbed it. The sticker above was placed there a little while later by an MLB authenticator.
Last Mets home run at Shea Stadium
This is still my favorite ball. It was Carlos Beltran's 263rd career home run, but more importantly, it ended up being the last homer that the Mets ever hit at Shea Stadium. Click here to read my long blog entry about the experience and click here to watch me catching it and freaking out.
Alex Blandino's 1st career home run
May 1, 2018 was a magical night for me at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. I snagged 24 baseballs including THREE home runs during the game including this one from the Reds' rookie. Click here for the YouTube video.
Steven Matz's 1st career home run
This was the first home run that I ever got that was hit by a pitcher, and it was also the first time I grabbed a homer during both games of a doubleheader. This also turned out to be one of my most popular videos ever — don’t miss it.
Robinson Cano grand slam
Remember when the 2009 Yankees became the first team in history to have five guys hit 25 home runs in a season? Okay, you probably don't, but anyway, this is the ball that made history. It was Cano's 25th and final homer, and it was the first grand slam I ever snagged. Here’s my blog entry about it.
Carlos Beltran grand slam
This was the first grand slam that I caught on the fly, hit by Beltran on August 8, 2014 at Yankee Stadium. Here's a blog entry about it with a video, some screen shots, and a few photos.
Tyler Austin walk-off home run
This was Austin's third career home run and his first walk-off, giving the Yankees a 5-4 win over the Rays on September 8, 2016. Security initially told me that he wanted the ball. Then they told me that he didn't. Oh well.
Bryce Harper home run
March 31, 2019. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. Bryce Harper’s second home run as a member of the Phillies (186th of his career). Click here to watch MLB’s footage, and click here to see my video on YouTube. Crazy stuff.
Carlos Correa home run
Is this ball worthy of being called "valuable"? Yes because he's a future Hall of Famer. This was Correa's 47th career home run -- a two-run shot off Michael Pineda on May 11, 2017, at Yankee Stadium.
Opening Day at SunTrust Park
Here's the ball that ended the 7th inning of the inaugural game at the Braves' new stadium. Brandon Phillips lined out to Padres left fielder Travis Jankowski, who tossed it to me on his way back to the dugout. Check out my YouTube video from this game.
Game-used ball from a no-hitter
MLB's first regular-season game in Mexico in 19 years turned out to be no-hitter. This was the ball that ended the first inning -- a Christian Villanueva strikeout against Walker Buehler, tossed to me above the 3rd base dugout by Yasmani Grandal.
Mariano Rivera's 313th career save
Yankee Stadium. July 8, 2004. Top of the 9th. Two outs. Mariano Rivera induced Rey Sanchez to ground out to 2nd baseman Miguel Cairo for his 30th save of the season and 313th of his career. Cairo threw the ball to 1st baseman Tony Clark. Clark handed it to Rivera. Rivera returned to the dugout and tossed it to me.
Derek Jeter's 3,262nd career hit
On 8/27/12 at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the 9th inning with a game-tying home run against the Blue Jays. I was soooo happy when I caught it that there truly aren't words.
Sometimes I prefer to get baseballs thrown to me because of the personal connection that I share with the players. To me, THAT is valuable. These four balls (clockwise from the top left) were thrown by Tom Glavine, Trevor Hoffman, Albert Pujols, and Ichiro Suzuki.
Heath Bell = my hero
Bell might've been a Quadruple-A reliever for the Mets, but he really was my hero. This is the ball that we used to play catch on 9/29/05 at Shea Stadium. And it got better after that. Click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, and you'll see what I mean.
Personal milestones are valuable too. This is the 1,000th ball that I ever snagged. Braves pitcher Pedro Borbon Jr. threw it to me on June 11, 1996 at Shea Stadium. It helped that I was wearing a Braves cap and asked him for the ball in Spanish.
Phillies pitcher Joe Roa tossed it to me on May 24, 2003 at Olympic Stadium. It helped that I was wearing a Phillies cap and asked him for the ball in English.
Mets pitcher Livan Hernandez threw it to me during batting practice on 5/18/09 at Dodger Stadium -- totally anticlimactic, but hey, for what it's worth, my 4,001st ball was a BP homer hit by Gary Sheffield that I caught on the fly.
Nothing fancy about this one — Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano threw it to me during batting practice on 8/13/19 at Angel Stadium.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Ripken is my favorite player of all time. I was never able to catch a game ball off his bat, so this is the next best thing: a foul grounder he hit during BP in the Bronx.
200th game ball
Not only was this a home run, and not only was my girlfriend with me, and not only was it my birthday, but it was hit on the very first pitch of the game, so I got to sit there all night and feel great about myself. Thank you, Anthony Rendon! Here’s the clip from TV.
1,000th ball of 2011
A thousand baseballs in one season?! Oh yeah. This was the milestone ball — a BP homer that I caught on the fly on 9/14/11 at Great American Ball Park. Sadly, I don't know who hit it. All I can tell you is that it was a right-handed white guy on the Cubs.
9/14/11 at Great American Ball Park was special for two reasons. Not only did I catch my 1,000th ball of the season (pictured above), but I set a single-game record by snagging 36 balls. (Oh, and it was also my birthday.) This was my final ball of the day—a post-game toss-up from home plate umpire Gary Darling.
1,000 consecutive games
I snagged a baseball at *every* major league game I attended from September 10, 1993 to June 17, 2019. Twenty-one years into that streak, on 6/24/14 at Citi Field, my first ball of the day made it 1,000 consecutive games with at least one ball.