Alex Rodriguez reached another important baseball milestone after recording his 3,000th career hit in the first inning last Friday night. Rodriguez did it in style with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Detroit right-hander, Justin Verlander.
Rodriguez became only the 29th player in baseball history to reach 3,000 hits, and became only the third to hit a home run on his 3,000th.
After sitting out last season due to a suspension for his use of performance enhancing drugs, Rodriguez, 39, has had a better than expected season for the Yankees. Already this season, he has passed Willy Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list, and he became only the third player to record 2,000 RBI in a career.
Most people were not sure what to expect out of the aging star this season. Missing a whole 162 game season in 2014 was thought to have a negative effect on his batting, but Rodriguez has put those worries to rest. He is currently batting .277 with 13 homers and 35 RBI, while helping the Bronx Bombers compete for an A.L. East crown.
The reaction of the crowd at Yankee stadium was epic when Rodriguez rounded the bases after the homerun. Rodriguez has been vilified by fans for his steroid issues that have surrounded the second half of his career. But the curtain call he received from the home crowd showed they have no hard feelings.
To make the night even more dramatic, the fan who caught the home run ball is not a normal Yankee fan looking for a good time on a Friday night. Zack Hample is a master at catching balls in baseball stadiums. Hample claims to have caught over 8,000 balls, and he has authored three books on the subject. Hample will not give the 3,000 hit ball to Rodriguez.
“I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me,” Hample said when asked if he would give the ball back. He has not decided if he will sell it.