Jul 15, 2010
Whenever a home run ball lands in the seats and isn't immediately snagged, it's basically a free-for-all. A mosh pit of sorts quickly forms with at least a half dozen or so fans scrambling to grab the ball. Ultimately one lucky fan emerges with the game ball in hand, and unfortunately it's often a guy who pushed and shoved his way to victory.
Occasionally, however, fans become so aggressive that they forget one very important thing: keeping their eyes on the baseball. When Jeff Keppinger launched a home run last Saturday in Houston into the left field seats and off the bare hands of a fan, a crazed group of wanna-be ballhawks went after it like a pack of wild animals, but nobody bothered to keep track of the baseball.
Meanwhile, Donny Haltom was arriving at the scene from one section over, and instead of blindly joining the mosh pit, he carefully scanned the ground for the ball. To his surprise, he discovered that everybody had been looking in the wrong place.
"There were about five people in the scrum on the ground looking for it and I just walked down towards it hoping to be part of the action when I saw it sitting perfectly still behind the first seat on my left in the row above where they were all digging around," he said. "I stepped over, just picked it up with my glove and turned and left quietly."
The other fans were left scratching their heads, wondering how a seemingly passive onlooker had emerged with the coveted baseball. Of course, even though Haltom was wearing a Happy Youngster t-shirt, they had no idea about his prowess as a ballhawk. He owns the lifetime record for average balls per game with 7.22 and has snagged more balls at Minute Maid Park than the rest of myGameBalls.com combined.