Albert Pujols was pleased to learn that the fan who refused to give up the ball the Angels slugger hit for his 2,000th career run batted in May 9 in Detroit has donated the souvenir to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“That’s good — it belongs there,” Pujols said before Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium. “That’s where it needs to be.”
Pujols became the fifth member of 2,000-RBI club when he hit a home run to left field in Comerica Park. He trails only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Cap Anson.
Ely Hydes, a 33-year-old law student at Wayne State University, caught the ball but refused to exchange it for signed memorabilia and a meeting with Pujols. Instead, he left the stadium without the ball being authenticated.
“I don’t care about money; I don’t want anything out of this,” Hydes said in a television interview that day. “It’s folklore. I love it. I’ve never caught a foul ball in a thousand games. What a first.”
A day later, after being criticized on social media, Hydes offered the ball back to Pujols, who told the fan to keep it.
“He can have a great piece of history,” Pujols said. “When he looks at the ball, he can remember this game.”
Hydes, according to the Detroit News, stored the ball in a safety deposit box for several months. He said he received numerous cash offers — one as high as $50,000 — and even though he says he still owes tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, he decided to donate it to the Hall of Fame.
During an early August ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., Hydes and several family members passed the ball to Tim Mead, the new Hall of Fame president and former vice president of communications for the Angels, and Susan MacKay, director of collections for the Hall of Fame. Hydes was given a lifetime pass to the Hall of Fame.
The ball was donated in the name of Cyrus Arlo Maloney, the son of Hydes who died June 11, 2018. Cyrus died at 21 months after developing an infection that prevented his body from producing white blood cells, according to the Detroit News. He was named after Cy Young and already was well-known among the ushers at Comerica Park.
Pujols ranks sixth on baseball’s all-time list with 656 homers. He won three National League most valuable player awards and two World Series titles with the St. Louis Cardinals and is a lock to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Will he eventually seek out the 2,000-RBI ball in Cooperstown?
“Maybe one day,” he said.