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Did you ever get a baseball at a Twins game?


Seth Stohs
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Random Question of the Day:

 

Have you ever caught a home run ball, or a foul ball at a big league game? Have you ever had a ball tossed to you? It's even OK if you count batting practice.

 

When I was probably 8 years old or so, I was at a Twins game at the Metrodome. They were playing the Red Sox, and during their batting practice, a ball was hit foul down the 3B line. A lefty reliever named John Henry Johnson came over and picked up the ball. I asked for the ball. He turned back toward the field and said, "Ah, I came this far..." He turned and then flipped the ball to me. I'm surprised I caught it. 

 

I took that ball and went down by the Twins dugout. I know Kirby Puckett signed it. He was probably a rookie that year, maybe second year guy. A second person did as well. Then I handed the ball to Dave Engle. The one-time "All Star" took the ball, said Thank You and threw it into their ball bag. I was disappointed and started to walk away. He laughed and said, Hey I'm just kidding. He signed it and threw it back to me. After that traumatic experience, I was done with the autograph thing for the day!

 

Do I still have that ball? Of course not. I'm sure I went back home and within a few days, played catch with it or something. I don't know.

 

So, your turn. tell us some stories. 

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The first ball I got was from 1986, late summer. I was a young 20-something at a game with my then boyfriend. Thanks to work, I got us tickets right over the Twins dugout. Bert Blyleven was pitching. I don’t remember what inning it was, who they were playing, or anything about the game, but Bert finished that inning with a strikeout. As he was leaving the mound to head to the dugout, the catcher threw the ball back to him and he walked off field. Just before he went into the dugout he looked up and tossed me the ball. Just as I was about to catch it, my then boyfriend jumped in front of me and took the ball. Nope, nuh uh, no way. That ball was mine. And yes, I still have it. That was almost unforgivable.

 

The other one I got was at Spring Training a few years ago. I was watching batting practice on the full field directly behind Hammond Stadium when Tony Oliva walked by. After a brief exchange he asked me if I had good hands. I think I said sure, or I think so. He tossed a ball to me over the fence. When I looked at it it was signed. He does this ... tosses out balls here and there to fans. And yes, I still have that one, too.

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I got one in 2000. We were sitting about halfway between home and first near the top of the lower level of the Dome. Ron Coomer hit a bullet toward the empty seat in front of me, and I reached down and caught it on the fly in my glove. The people around me even clapped! I still have it, and it's one of my favorite memories from a game. 

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Two foul balls in the same game 2003 at the Trop.

 

We were the only group in the upper deck behind home plate and got two that were not even hit in our section.

 

Our group of five represented about half the crowd that night and were also circled that evening.

 

I almost got killed by a Thome home run in batting practice in KC when I was staring into the sun and he destroyed one about five feet to my left.

Edited by notoriousgod71
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Closest I think I ever came was at a World Baseball Classic game in Arizona - not a major league game but a major leaguer: a foul liner from Joe Mauer. It landed a row in front of me, where my son and his friend were sitting in a sparsely populated area down the third base line, and caromed off to who knows where. They ducked. But it was such a rocket that I didn't even bother to either go for it or duck out of the way - I could see it was going to miss me, and there was no way I was going to get mixed up with that. Vintage Joe.

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I held in my hand for a brief partial second a Dave Winfield BP foul ball, it slipped out and another fan grabbed it and kept it. I was a teen ager, so it wasn't a big deal, but the guy that got it was in his twenties and didn't give it to one of the numerous little kids who were watching BP. It stuck in my craw...

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I caught a foul ball when I was 9 years old in 1991 at the Metrodome.  Jack Morris was the pitcher.  They were playing the Angels and Max Venable was the hitter.  He popped one up along the dugout on the third base side.  The ball bounced off some guys glove who tried to catch it, and it rolled a few rows down the steps where I happened to standing and it bounced right into my hands.

 

I was pumped!

I still have that ball too!

 

Two years ago at spring training Danny Santana tossed a ball up into the stands to my 5 year old and he got one too. 

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I used to get a bunch of BP balls back in the mid to late 1990's when no one showed up to the Metrodome. My favorites:

 

I have no idea how, but even though he was wearing his warm-up jacket I recognized Dan Plesac. He was with the Blue Jays shagging balls in the outfield. I called to him and he looked a bit surprised that he was recognized without his name and number exposed; he tossed me the ball.

 

Once when I was 16 I climbed down the railing behind the CF baggy and grabbed about a half dozen balls that were laying down there. When I climbed back up a nervous usher who looked to be about my age tried to scold me and confiscated the balls I grabbed. But he didn't get the two I stuffed in my back pockets!

 

I also got a ball thrown by Jesse Crain at the first game at Target Field. Those balls were marked in an inauguration logo. It's pretty cool.

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In the 60's and into the 70's, they used to have 'campers weekend' at the Met, and our family of five would come down from northern MN and pitch a tent in the parking lot on Friday (this stuff actually happened) and stay until after the game on Sunday.  One year there was a double-header on Saturday, and between games, some guys (can't remember who...I think Oliva was one of them) were hitting fungos along the right field foul line...trying to see who could hit them the furthest/highest, etc.  One was mis-hit and floated right back near me.  There were probably a dozen people crowded along the railing at the time watching them.  One of them, a full grown adult, literally tore my hand from the ball as I grabbed it while it was rolling under the seats.  He took the ball and I had scratch marks on the back of my hand.  I ran back to wherever my Dad was at the time and told him about it and showed him my hand.  I was upset.  Thought I was going to see my dad punch someone that day, but thankfully, he couldn't find the guy.

 

Years later, when the Metrodome was new and I didn't have my own kids yet, I caught a foul ball (can't remember who hit it...Randy Bush comes to mind).  I gave it to a little kid in the row behind me.  The look on his dad's face was almost as good as the look on the kid's.

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I've never got one at an MLB game, but I caught a foul ball at an Albuquerque Isotopes game once. My middle son caught a Denard Span batting practice HR in Arlington and my youngest son had a ball thrown to him by Trevor Plouffe. We still have those and they got them signed by a bunch of players, but not Span or Plouffe. It was usually by all the bullpen guys who seemed to be the ones signing stuff.

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Couple of stories:

 

1. I went to hundreds of games at the Metrodome growing up, in high school and then in college. Came close just once in my life to getting a ball there. I was about 10-12 years old and we were in the lower bowl on the first base line up 15-20 rows from the visiting dugout (or the Little Big League home dugout, if you will) and in the same at bat, a guy 2-3 rows behind us got consecutive foul balls. I remember watching both of this high pops seemingly coming right over us and then drift just far enough out of reach -- TO THE SAME GUY. He did not have sympathy and had one of the balls over to kids in front of him.

 

2. In August 2015, we set up an experiment at CHS Field to see what it's like to try to catch a "home run ball" one handed while holding a beer. Even for somebody who was still playing the game in an old men's league at the time, it was fairly difficult. 

 

 

A month later I was in the Legends Club with my Dad, about five rows from the top on an aisle seat. Someone sent a screamer straight back. While holding a Summit, I took one step into the aisle and leaned over the stair rail and got full palm on the ball. The ball bounced down, hit the stair and then bounced harmlessly into the lap of the young kid a row in front of me. My Dad let me have it for not catching it (IT WAS A SCREAMER YOU GUYS) and the kid, who heard my Dad making E-6 jokes, actually turned around and offered it back to me. 

 

I turned him down.

 

3. I did get a ball at a Kenosha Twins game as a kid. But it was a "run across the street and find the foul ball in the parking lot"-type situation and then they wanted the ball back in exchange for some popcorn or something.

 

 

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April 3, 1998 - Home Opener versus the Royals. Sitting lower deck down the third base line at the Metrodome, about halfway between the bullpen and the foul pole and maybe 10-12 rows up. Terry Pendleton at the plate, Brad Radke on the hill, Pendleton hits a slicing fly ball down the left field line. It slices foul, takes one big, spinny bounce once off the carpet and lands right in my glove. Yes, my glove. A 27 year old me brought a glove to the game. But it paid off. That is the only foul ball I've ever caught. Although probably 15-16-ish years earlier, in nearly the same spot, I had my hand on a foul ball in the row behind me, but my arm was nearly wrenched all the way behind me giving me little leverage, and a classmate had two hands on it, and I grudgingly let it go.

 

I also had a batting practice ball flipped to my by Scott Erickson on fan appreciation night in 1991.

 

I still have both of those balls - they are sitting on my work desk - but I can't tell you which one is which.

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April 3, 1998 - Home Opener versus the Royals. Sitting lower deck down the third base line at the Metrodome, about halfway between the bullpen and the foul pole and maybe 10-12 rows up. Terry Pendleton at the plate, Brad Radke on the hill, Pendleton hits a slicing fly ball down the left field line. It slices foul, takes one big, spinny bounce once off the carpet and lands right in my glove. Yes, my glove. A 27 year old me brought a glove to the game. But it paid off. That is the only foul ball I've ever caught. Although probably 15-16-ish years earlier, in nearly the same spot, I had my hand on a foul ball in the row behind me, but my arm was nearly wrenched all the way behind me giving me little leverage, and a classmate had two hands on it, and I grudgingly let it go.

 

I also had a batting practice ball flipped to my by Scott Erickson on fan appreciation night in 1991.

 

I still have both of those balls - they are sitting on my work desk - but I can't tell you which one is which.

 

My birthday! Well, a few years later....

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Never caught one personally but my mom caught one before!

 

We were at the old spring training complex by Walt Disney World watching a Florida Marlins game. Must have been 7 or 8 years old at the time.

 

The Marlins must have been playing the Braves or something. I do remember Antonio Alfonseca was pitching at the time.

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When I was a little kid, Jim Eisenreich lined a foul ball towards where my dad I were sitting at the Dome. Some guy about five rows in front of us stood up and put his hand out to catch the ball, and it audibly SMACKED off his hand and landed next to my dad. The guy turned around and said something to my dad about wanting the ball, but my dad just laughed in the guy's face and handed it to me.

 

I still remember how magical it felt to hold that ball, like I had broken the fourth wall or something. Lost the ball somewhere along the way, but that's why I use Jim Eisenreich's photo on this site. 

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I have no idea how, but even though he was wearing his warm-up jacket I recognized Dan Plesac. He was with the Blue Jays shagging balls in the outfield. I called to him and he looked a bit surprised that he was recognized without his name and number exposed; he tossed me the ball.

 

Once when I was 16 I climbed down the railing behind the CF baggy and grabbed about a half dozen balls that were laying down there. When I climbed back up an nervous usher who looked to be about my age tried to scold me and confiscated the balls I grabbed. But he didn't get the two I stuffed in my back pockets!

 

 

I don't know if these should count, but that is awesome! Ha!

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The wife and I were in KC before KC got good.  We had really good seats on top of the Twins dugout.  We were each sporting a Morneau jersey and there were a few Royal fans around us but not too many.  I think we ended up with 5 balls from Morneau that he toss up after the end of each inning.  There werent too many kids around so I didn't feel too bad.

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In 2003 I caught a David Ortiz homer at Fenway.  It was his first year with the Red Sox and I was not happy he wasn't a Twin.  He was my favorite Twin during his time here.  Anyway, the day after I caught the ball, the group I was with got to tour Fenway and the tour included being on the field for batting practice.  I got to meet Papi, he signed the ball and he got Manny Ramirez to give me a signed ball too.  I still have the Papi ball.  Great memories of a great guy.

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I am always ducking so will probably never get one but one memorable time was when I had front row seats down the left field line so I took both of my nephews. When the ballboy gave one of them a ball the other one yelled "WHY DOES LOUIE GET EVERYTHING???" The people around us thought that was pretty funny. 

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Got two, the first one was a Marquis Grissom Homerun against the twins when he was playing for the Indians.  The other was a Michael Cuddyer Batting Practice homerun in Chicago against the Whitesox.  Just got Cuddyer to sign the BP ball two years ago when he was helping out at Spring Training.

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