Remember the name Raul Lopez? If it sounds familiar to you, it’s because Raul is the father of Christian Lopez, the Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. In exchange for returning the milestone ball to Jeter, the Yankees gave Christian four box seats to Yankees home games the rest of the season. On Wednesday night, father Raul made good use of the tickets with a sweet diving grab on a foul ball:
If it hasn’t already, the name Christian Lopez will eventually become a household name associated with Derek Jeter’s historic pursuit of 3,000 hits. Lopez bought a seat at a Yankees game and ended up with a winning lottery ticket. Rather than cashing it in and collecting the six figures worth of money he could have demanded for it, Lopez gave Jeter’s 3,000th hit back to him and asked for nothing in return. Naturally, Jeter and the Yankees hooked him up anyway.
The gifts haven’t stopped rolling in since. Mark Sapir, Topps baseball card company’s vice president for sports, said on Wednesday that Topps plans to create a trading card featuring Lopez that will be included in sets later this year.
Perhaps more importantly, Lopez will also be getting help paying off his outstanding student loans, which total around $150,000. Memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner and CEO Mitch Modell of Modell’s Sporting Goods stores have put together a plan that will pay at least $50,000 of Lopez’s loans. The money will be raised through a memorabilia auction and a sale at Modell’s called “Christian Lopez Week,” during which Lopez will be given five percent of the sale of Yankee-related merchandise.
Lopez is slowly becoming the most viable living opponent to the phrase “nice guys finish last.” Either he is one of the smartest businessmen in America and knew what the future held if he returned the ball, or he picked the right day to showcase his generosity. I think it’s safe to say Lopez is happy with his decision.
Fan Christian Lopez was the luckiest man in Yankee Stadium Saturday. The Highland Mills resident recovered Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit ball, a home run to left field off David Price in the third inning. Lopez says his girlfriend bought the tickets for him as a birthday present. He received an even more valuable gift in return.
Lopez decided to return the home run ball to Jeter without asking for anything in exchange even though it could have easily sold for a six-figure sum.
“[Jeter] deserved this,” Lopez said in an interview on the YES Network. “He worked so hard for this. He’s been in the league for so long. I’m not really the kind to take something away from him.”
The Yankees rewarded Lopez’s honorable deed by offering him some sweet gifts in return. He’ll receive signed bats and balls, and he was promised a meeting with Jeter after the game. The best gift from the Yankees is four suite tickets to every game for the rest of the season, including all Yankees playoff games.
There’s already a fan movement on Facebook to try and raise $300,000 for Lopez to reward him for the outstanding gesture.
The honorable thing to do is return the ball to the batter, but it’s awfully hard to turn down hundreds of thousands of dollars. Let’s commend Christian Lopez for the tremendous deed, which is the second great story we covered this week.