Aug 9, 2012
A total of eight commemorative baseballs have been making the rounds at batting practices throughout the league this season. So far only one ballhawk has successfully snagged all eight.
His name is Leiming Tang and he's an 18 year old baseball enthusiast from Kansas City. His travels this summer have brought him to 21 different stadiums and has resulted in over 175 balls so far. Interestingly, he didn't set out with the goal of snagging all the commemoratives.
"Pretty much at the beginning of the season, the only ball that I really wanted to snag was a 2012 all star game," he said. "I knew about the other commemoratives but due to no real baseball city being close to Kansas City, traveling to get other commemoratives would be hard. I would have to hope that any commemorative I did end up getting would be AL teams (baltimore and boston) coming to Kansas city and then getting them there."
As it turned out, however, only two of the eight commemoratives were snagged in Kansas City. The Camden Yards commemorative, his first commemorative of the year, was snagged at a Rangers/Royals game at Rangers Ballpark. His second was the Houston Astros 50th anniversity ball, which was snagged at Minute Maid Park. Tang took a 9 stadium tour right before the All-Star break, in which he snagged the Mets 50th Anniversary commemorative. He then snagged the Red Sox 50th anniversary ball at a crowded Red Sox/Yankees game by getting an umpire toss-up.
The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game were at Tang's home ballpark, giving him a great opportunity to snag two more commemoratives. He snagged the Home Run Derby ball during the derby's batting practice, and the following night got the All-Star Game ball on an in-game toss-up.
At that point Tang had just two commemoratives to go, so he decided to go all out. He jumped on a greyhound bus to Chicago and successfully snagged the Marlins' commemorative. For the final ball, he took another spontaneous trip, this time to St Louis where he completed his 2012 commemorative collection with the Dodgers' commemorative baseball.
"Overall, it's been a really fun summer," Tang remarked. "Who knows, if the cardinals make the world series again, maybe i'll go out there and snag the 2012 world series baseball!"