From Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan's Soul

Catch of a Lifetime

I grew up a Yankees fan. Every time the Yankees played the Anaheim Angels, my friend John Gray and I were there, up front in the bleachers beside the first-base dugout, with gloves, waiting for a foul ball to come our way. Most lovers of the game know this quest. The desire is pervasive; getting the grab is rare—about the same as winning the lottery as far as I can tell, and, in both, failure doesn’t dampen the desire.

I’m a grown man now with about one thousand baseball games under my belt. I’ve yet to catch a foul ball, and certainly not one smashed by the likes of Ricky Henderson. That’s why every day, when I notice the one perched in prize position on my wife’s dresser, I smile at the vagaries of life.

It happened this way: My wife, Joanne, my dad, Rudy, and I were at a Saturday doubleheader with the Oakland Athletics in town to play the Anaheim Angels. We were there in my favorite spot behind the first-base dugout at Angels Stadium. First inning, first pitch to leadoff batter Rickey Henderson. He hit a high pop-up that came sailing straight at us. Dad and I leapt to our feet. I knew this was it: I was about to grab a foul ball!

Then I stepped back, realizing I had to let my dad get it. But he did the same, stepping back to let his son’s dream come true. To our horror, we watched the ball drop between us—right in Joanne’s lap.

Looking up with a wide grin, she said, “Honey, I thought you said catching a foul ball was tough.”

R. Gregory Alonzo

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