Albert Pujols Hit Career Home Run No. 500 and the Fan Who Caught It Gave It Back (Video + Pics)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Washington Nationals

Last night at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols became the 26th member of baseball’s 500 home run club. And while some observers would point out that baseball’s PED problem has tarnished this once-sacred milestone, in Pujols’ case it’s still pretty impressive.

You see, he didn’t just make it to 500 home runs. At 34 years and 96 days old, he’s the third-youngest player to get there after Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx. Moreover, Pujols has the fourth-highest career batting average of any member in the 500 HR club (.321) and the second-best K-to-HR ratio (1.69), which means he doesn’t just go to the plate and swing for the fences. He’s a pure hitter who just happens to crush the ball out of the park a lot.

Take a look at No. 500:

Now, in case you were wondering, these days MLB is marking potentially historic balls so that they can be more easily authenticated. In this case, the balls Nationals pitcher Taylor Jordan was throwing to Albert Pujols were marked with a “P”:

pujols 500 hr ball

And this was the lucky guy who ended up with No. 500 in his hands:

angels fan tom sherill cathces pujols 500 hr

His name is Tom Sherill. He’s a member of the United States Air Force and, it turns out, he’s actually an Angels fan from Southern California.

Sherill had no interest in cashing in on his historic souvenir, either. After the game he presented the ball to Pujols in exchange for some autographed team merchandise.

Personally I would have sold the ball to the highest bidder. I’m happy for Pujols, and I understand that players are sentimental just like the rest of us. But the man has at least 240 million other ways to remember all his career milestones, while that ball could have sent my kids to college.

But hey, that’s just me.

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