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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

Fan catches 2 home run balls at 1 game, says he's written book on how to do it

‘I’m a dork’ he admitted afterwards. Yes, yes you are.

Zack Hample, a 35-year-old New Yorker holds the two balls he caught in the right-field seats.
Zack Hample, a 35-year-old New Yorker holds the two balls he caught in the right-field seats.
Image: (AP Photo/Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson)

THIS GUY SOUNDS like great company. Zack Hample leads the majors in hogging home run balls.

The 35-year-old New Yorker picked up Didi Gregorius’ first big league homer when the Arizona Diamondbacks rookie lined a pitch into the third row of right-field seats in the third inning at Yankee Stadium last night.

Then he caught a tying drive by Francisco Cervelli of the Yankees in the first row of left-field stands in the ninth.

“It’s a little bit of luck, obviously. I move all over the place constantly,” Hample said after Arizona’s 6-2 victory over New York in 12 innings. “People don’t notice the seven games I’ve been to this year and didn’t catch a home run.”

Author of the 1999 book “How to Snag Major League Baseballs,” Hample is having a ball, the Cal Ripken Jr. of his hobby. Hample said he’s come away from 880 consecutive games with at least one ball, a streak dating to September 1993 at old Yankee Stadium. He caught two homers in one game for the second time after accomplishing the feat at Baltimore’s Camden Yards on 13 May, 2010, drives to right in consecutive innings by Seattle’s Michael Saunders and the Orioles’ Corey Patterson.

“I really just go by instinct. I don’t position differently for different hitters,” he said. “I had a friend sitting out in right field tonight who called me early in the game and said, ‘We’re over here. Say hello.’ I intentionally waited for Gregorius’ first at-bat. I knew he had no home runs.”

“I’m a dork, but not a big enough dork that I have it all memorised,” he said.

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