Christian Lopez, the Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter’s home run for his 3,000th hit, was posing for pictures with fans at the back of the lower-level stands on the third-base side Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Lopez is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame for giving back Jeter’s ball rather than saving it or selling it for big bucks.
According to Steiner Sports, the ball is estimated to be worth around $250,000. Instead of cashing in, Lopez received pricey season tickets among other goodies.
“It didn’t cross my mind until they asked me what I wanted,” he said on Saturday. “The only thing I could think of was a few signed balls would be nice, and to meet him. 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.”
“Mr. Jeter deserved it,” said Lopez. “It’s all his.”
But would you have done the same?
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.
“(The ball) landed right in my hand, and then it bounced out,” Raul “Chico” Lopez told the paper. “I can’t believe I dropped the ball.”
The 23-year-old Lopez, from Highland Mills got his $65 tickets through StubHub as a birthday present from his girlfriend, Tara Johnson, 22, also from Highland Mills.
“He got his tickets from his girlfriend, so he owes her quite a bit,” Jeter said after meeting Lopez. “He’s going to be paying her back for quite some time.”
“I would have done it over again 100 times,” Lopez told The Post. “I think I did the right thing.”