Photo: Christian López
Christian López, who in an act of selflessness returned the historic ball has also been invited to the rest of the Yankees’ 32 home games but that wasn’t the ultimate gift, that apparently has come from Topps.
López, a 23 year old cell phone salesman caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000 career hit on July 9th a memento that had been valued at somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars.
But López didn’t keep it, he returned the milestone ball to the man who slugged it into the left-field stands, with a humble, congratulatory smile.
A grateful Jeter presented López with three signed bats, three signed baseballs and three signed jerseys; he was also given close to $50k worth of tickets for the remainder home games of the season. While Steiner and Modell’s sporting goods donated $50,000 to pay off his $100,000 student loan debt and Miller High Life has pledged to pay any tax bills owed to the IRS for accepting free tickets and Jeter-signed memorabilia from the Yankees.
Topps Company, the leading creator and marketer of sports cards, announced via twitter and their website that they would print a Christian López Rookie card, and hire Lopez as an honorary Topps employee for a day, assigning him the duty of selecting the image of Derek Jeter’s 2012 Topps Series 1 card, available next February.
“Christian Lopez is the perfect role model and embodies everything that is right in baseball,” said Mark Sapir, Topps VP. “Topps is proud to be able to help support this young man and place his rookie card right next to all of today’s legends.”