Would You Have Held On To The Ball?


baseballBy Noam Amdurski

It is not a secret that a New York Yankees baseball player got his 3,000th career hit this past weekend, and I laughed reading some comments here on Matzav about whether it is a “Jewish” story, or of interest to Yidden, that it should be reported here. But that’s not really what intrigued me.

What I found more fascinating is the sub-plot of the 23-year-old Verizon cell phone salesman, Christian Lopez, who had thousands of reasons to hold out for the highest bidder on the baseball of the 3,000th hit.

Lopez is the Yankees fan who caught the home run that was the baseball player’s 3,000th hit. Lopez posed for pictures with fans at the back of the lower-level stands on the third-base side Sunday at Yankee Stadium and he is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame for giving back the ball rather than saving it or selling it for big bucks.

However, according to Steiner Sports, the ball is estimated to be worth at least $250,000.

Lopez was willing to just give away what seemed like a sure lottery ticket.

“No, not really,” Lopez said when Yankees announcer Michael Kay later asked him if he asked for anything in return. “He deserves this, he’s worked hard for this … I’m not the type of person to take this away from him.”


The $250,000 is money that the recent graduate from St. Lawrence University could have certainly used.

It’s a pretty nice gesture, no doubt. And lest we think that the Yankees were just going to take the ball without any compensation, they rewarded Lopez’s generosity with a pretty nice package. Lopez will receive four tickets to a suite for every remaining game at Yankee Stadium this season (including any possible playoff games). He also received an assortment of bats and jerseys, plus a meeting with the player.

But he passed up holding on to the ball and selling it for a pretty penny.

“It didn’t cross my mind until they asked me what I wanted,” he said. “The only thing I could think of was a few signed balls would be nice, and to meet [the player]. It wasn’t about the money. It was about a milestone and I wasn’t going to take that away from him. Money’s cool and all, but I’m only 23 years old. I have a lot of time to make that.”

Lopez’s father, Raul, who was oh-so-close to catching the homer, admitted to the New York Post that he would have had second thoughts about handing over the prized ball.

“I think I would have handled it differently if I had held on to the ball,” he said.

But his son felt confident with his decision.

“I would have done it over again 100 times,” Lopez told The Post. “I think I did the right thing.”

I have found it very interesting to read and hear people who question Lopez’s decision. I overheard some people in shul talking about it. Some were  giving credit to Lopez for returning the ball, saying what he did was “yashrus” and “mentchlich.” Others said that he had every right to keep it and make some money; in fact, they said, the player himself could have coughed up the couple of hundred grand for the ball.

What would you have done?

Would you have done the same as Mr. Lopez?

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Honestly I would have
    held on to the ball.
    I need the money to pay
    my bills. I cant believe the guy juust gave it
    up like that.

  2. Kiddush Hashem, Mr. #1? Mr Lopez isn’t Jewish.
    In case you’re not paying attention he caught the ball on Shabbos! He is not a Yid.

  3. There isn’t a chance in this whole wide world I would have given it to the guy for free
    I would have had it auctioend off and if the guy who bought it wants to give it back then let him do that. I am not a tzedaka organization giving a ball for free to a guy making a gazillion dollars a year!

  4. What does it mean that he did “the right thing”? Who decided what is “right” and what is “wrong.” Is there a Shulchan Aruch about giving back the ball of a 3,000th hit?!
    Who makes up these moral standards?!

  5. the guy will probably take the tickets he got and sell them on Stub Hub and make money that way.
    hes still crazy for giving it back for some dumb tickets and couple of bats

  6. I would definitely given the ball back. It means much more to Mr. Jeter than it would mean to me. Life is not about accumulating money.

  7. The man said he did “the right thing”. It seems obvious. How is it that on this site there are Jews steeped in Torah knowledge and Torah values who do not seem to grasp this obvious truth?

  8. It’s also possible that he never dreamed that it’s worth that much. Maybe, if he knew he would not have been that generous.

  9. the ballplayer made a few hundred million dollars playing ball…….if it means alot to him let him pay the guy what its worth in the marketplace….hes very very far from being a tzedaka case to take it for free[tickets are fraction of worth]……
    He did the right thing to give it to the ballplayer & the ballplayer should do the right thing by paying up

  10. legally he had a right to keep the ball as it says in the laws of attending a game at yankee stadium and elsewhere. no different than a foul ball. but the guy who caught the 756 hr from bonds did sell it.was he criticized? so there are different approaches. the best in my humble opinion is ” al tudin es chavercha ad shetagia limkomo”. go yanks!!

  11. I would have kept it. Why not? It is not stealing. I would have put the ball up for auction and if the player wanted it, he could well afford it. He’s making 15 million dollars this year. The 250K he would spend to get it back would be a little over 1.6 percent of his salary for this year alone with plenty of change to spare. Feeding my family would come first!

  12. There is no “right” thing, but there clearly is a BEST thing. To offer the ball to the player in return for the gratuities, you are being generous and that will get you many blessings. Perhaps you did not hold out for every penny you could get in return for your good fortune, but clearly in a universe ruled by a benevolent and righteous Creator, you must realize that it is likely in your favor of course to do the BEST thing.

  13. This is typical behaviour of a bleeding heart Liberal do gooder! This guy is a total idiot for giving “back” the ball for nothing! He has shown NO responsibility as a human, knowing that he owes thousands of dollars in tuition! God sent the helicopter, he said- he knows better! He will go down in History as a stupid FOOL! This is why I discourage voter registration. These dummies always vote blindly for “Demon crats”!

  14. I want to be among the people who admire someone, Jewish or not, for not having dollar signs in their eyes all the time and instead seeing justice–not legal justice, but something more basic–in giving another human being an object that, in some way, “belongs” to him. And I want to run far away from the cynics who think the guy is crazy for not keeping it. I could use $250k for lots of important things, tzedakah included, but more good surely would come to the world if more people acted as selflessly as this guy. Counting another person’s money (Derek Jeter’s making $15MM…etc) or another company’s money (they’re a multibillion dollar company, they won’t miss a little…) is the first step to violating Lo Sachmod, which is a slippery slope to the rest of the dibros in that column. Who can disagree that the further you stay away from that, the better off you will be?

  15. I would of held on to the ball for dear life! I would of done the American thing. Get the most possible money for it. What is wrong with that?! You people who are all for giving it away for bupkis, never worked a day in your life!

  16. Firstly, thank you for posting this. It’s a great question and I welcome the change of pace.

    I probably would have given it back and then kicked myself for doing so and regretted it for a while.

  17. All I can say is i dont know which shul you daven in Mr Matzav article writer, but if thats what they were discussing in the place that u daven then maybe you should start thinking about the chinuch of yourself and your children and find another beis medrash to be a part of. Who cares about a stupid ball, I hear a little where guys feel need to talk business on shabbos bc due to their lack of Emunas Hashem they think they have to discuss money 24/7, but a baseball? come on and for the record I am a big sports fan

  18. Many fans love and respect the game and history of the game. There is not too much depth to read into. It is what it is. Lopez obviously is a gentleman who loves the game and knows this was an historic moment, and acted accordingly. Derek Jeter, the Yankee who hit the ball, happens to be known as a very decent gentleman in the sports world. I think the way the situation played out shows our Creator’s hand is in baseball, too. (After all, it was His invention)

  19. Most foolish thing in the world – Jeter is fabulously wealthy and could care less about this guy – probably would not give him a buck if he was dying. But then again in the fantasy world of professional sports….

  20. derek jeter is no class when the over the hill 37 year old signs for 15 million a year still cant believe he gave it back

  21. learn from an old story and keep it for ever and ever you never know when your friends yeshiva will need it (or your yeshiva b’h)

  22. Wow! It truly is amazing that he give away $250,000 because it’s the right thing! At the same time I think it’s disgusting that the Yankees don’t give him more then some tickets and signed balls. At least give Hume free tickets for LIFE!

  23. ball games are their a donno what why are we getting involved? i dont mean to sound like a a donno what but if you really know what the ball games about you wouldnt go there arent i right?

  24. any connection to the story in the gemara of dama ben nsina giving away a parah aduma to the chachomim for a bargain price?

  25. Dear fans and not fans,
    What I did at the game was my only significant acomplishment my whole life. I think that you all have significant piont but don`t let money get in the way of how you would have felt had you been me.
    Thank you all for reading this comment,
    Derek Jeter

  26. 4. Comment from sometimes people amaze me with their foolishness that it is just amazing
    Time July 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Kiddush Hashem, Mr. #1? Mr Lopez isn’t Jewish.
    In case you’re not paying attention he caught the ball on Shabbos! He is not a Yid.

    So ????? ??? is solely and exclusively for Jews, is it? Somehow I think not.

  27. There is nothing to discuss. Of course, many (or most) people would view the ball for it’s pecuniary value, and not part with it until presented with the highest bid. Indeed, it would be justified and expected. That gives all the more reason why we should celebrate the altruistic act of this baseball fan. We should be honest with ourselves, and admit that although we (most of us, that is) are mercenary beings, we still marvel at the selflessness of a non-jewish baseball fan.


  28. you people are just posting dumb things everyone can see it
    1.the guy got a picture with Derek Jeter which is not so big

    2.he got signed baseballs and signed bats which he can sell for half a million each so he hit the jackpot

    3.someone posted “so what he got tickets” the tickets he got are luxury tickets worth more then a thousand

  29. How about turning the question around: Jeter has a big life, why not let his fans enjoy these kinds of things without trying to hold onto them himself?