The Los Angeles Angels fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th home run ball probably could have sold the souvenir for thousands of dollars. Instead, he returned the ball to Pujols for free.
Tom Sherrill, a 29-year-old Californian and staff sergeant in the United States Air Force, was perfectly placed in the left-center field bleachers to catch Pujols’ 500th home run, a two-run shot off Nationals pitcher Taylor Jordan. Officials from the Angels, Nationals and stadium security immediately rushed to his side, along with a memorabilia authenticator.
When asked what he planned to do with the milestone baseball, Sherrill stated that he simply wished to return it to Pujols. “I said I wanted to give the ball to Albert,” he told the Washington Post. “It’s his ball.”
Still, Sherrill didn’t leave Nationals Park empty-handed. He got a chance to meet Pujols after the game, a signed baseball and an official team hat. An Angels official also wrote down his contact information, presumably to send him additional loot.
“If they do, cool,” Sherrill told the Washington Post. “If they don’t, I don’t care. You’ve heard the guy speak. He’s such a god guy. I’m just happy he got the ball back.”
Sherrill’s rewards didn’t stop there. Angels announcers Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza offered to give him tickets to any Angels game he wanted, Yahoo Sports reports.
Sherrill was in position to catch Pujols’ 500th home run only because he decided to switch seats during the game. “I saw some seats over there and thought there’s a good chance he could hit it in this area,” he said.
“It went so far up that I just turned around and hauled [my butt] up the stairs and it worked out,” Sherrill added. “There was another guy there named Chris, he was running down the stairs. We kinda squared each other up. It bounced off of him and into my hands.”
The situation worked out for "Chris," too. Sherrill invited the man and his two sons to his postgame meeting with Pujols, where they received autographed hats and balls, USA Today’s For The Win reports.
— Tim Mead (@TMeadAngels) April 23, 2014