What Does It Take To Get Your First Home Run Ball Back?

posted by Steve Carney - 

#RakeBauers

A post shared by Tampa Bay Rays (@raysbaseball) on

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- It only happens once in a player's career: the first time you make solid contact with a baseball and watch it land beyond the fence at a big league ballpark.  For Rays first baseman Jake Bauers, that moment happened Monday, as his two run homer landed down the ramp and into the concourse in right field against Sam Gaviglio and the Toronto Blue Jays.

For Bauers, the next question was what would it take in order to acquire the baseball.

You've heard horror stories of milestone baseballs being auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Luckily for Bauers, all the young man and boy who came up with the ball wanted was a baseball.  But for the Rays first baseman, that wasn't enough.

"All they asked for was a ball.  I don't know.  I guess they're not very greedy,"  Bauers said after the exchange.  "So I shot them a bat."

I decided to see if any other players and coaches had to trade anything of significant value to get a memento of such sentimental value back.

Manager Kevin Cash (9/27/2003 off Cleveland's Terry Mulholland)

"I don't know if I have my first homer.  It was a big win for Roy Halladay that day, and that had an impact on it.  That was exciting because Roy was on the path to winning a Cy Young.  They certainly wouldn't have asked anything ridiculous from me.  They may have wanted a Halladay or [Carlos] Delgado jersey, but definitely not my jersey."

First base coach Ozzie Timmons (5/27/1995 off Chicago's John Burkett)

"It was at Wrigley, so the Cubs fans made sure I got it back for nothing.  Harry Caray called it too!"

Major League field coordinator Rocco Baldelli (4/30/2003 off Minnesota's Brad Radke)

"I have it somewhere at home in Cumberland, [Rhode Island.] I don't know how it came back, but I got it back for nothing."

Third baseman Matt Duffy (4/15/2015 off Colorado's Boone Logan)

"I gave the guy a signed bat.  He was happy.  Most guys just want to meet the players so they can say thanks."

DH C.J. Cron (5/10/2014 off Toronto's J.A. Happ)

"It bounced back on the field in Toronto, so I didn't have to trade anything for it.  Most fans are super cool about it.  I remember the kid who caught Albert [Pujols'] 600th just wanted to meet him.  I think he got a little more than that."

Outfielder Mallex Smith (5/3/2016 off New York's Matt Harvey)

"It was at Citi Field, and went down the line just over the wall and back on to the field, so I didn't have to give up anything.  I would have just given a ball for the ball."

Outfielder Johnny Field (4/28/2018 off Boston's Brian Johnson)

"Mine didn't clear the Monster seats, so one of the great fans at Fenway was good enough to throw it from on top of the wall back on to the field."

Infielder Daniel Robertson (4/20/2017 off Detroit's Warwick Saupold)

"I think I signed a bat or a pair of batting gloves.  Nothing big."

Shortstop Willy Adames (5/22/2018 off Boston's Chris Sale)

"I traded three signed balls and took about 20 pictures.  A couple of Venezuelan guys caught it.  They were excited.  I was too.  I was getting my ball back.  I have it framed and ready to go home."

Rays TV analyst Orestes Destrade (9/11/1988 off Philadelphia's Steve Bedrosian)

"I remember one of the Pirates PR staff saying they were taking one of my bats to give to the guys who caught it.  I don't know if they gave them anything else.  The ball's now at my parents' house."


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