Ely Hydes recently became a household name around the baseball world after he made the decision to hang on to Albert Pujols’ 2000th RBI ball just last week.
The Detroit Tigers fan turned down numerous offers for cash and memorabilia from the team’s staff in an effort to get that ball from him.
What the team, Pulojs, or anybody outside of his circle didn’t know was the heartbreaking reason as to why he refuses to let that ball go.
What it boiled down to wasn’t the money or memorabilia, but the cherished memory.
“I value experiences,” said Hydes.
Hydes’ only child, Cy, died less than a year ago at just 21 months old from an infection.
While visiting family in New Jersey, Cy developed an infection that essentially stopped his body from producing white blood cells. Within 48 hours of first noticing something was wrong, Cy was gone.
Hydes called it a “freak accident,” though now has no problem opening up about it.
Cy was Ely’s baseball buddy. The two attended about 25 games in his short life; ushers at Comerica Park last Thursday instantly recognized the fan who caught the Pujols ball as that Tigers fan who always was walking around the park with his young son, chatting with ballpark staff about this and that.
One usher even came up to him last week and, not knowing, asked how Cy was doing.
“This was one of the first games I’ve been to since he died,” Ely said Wednesday in a sitdown interview with The News. “It’s just emotional. Me and my wife went to a White Sox game like a month after he died, and we stayed for about six pitches.
“And we were like, ‘Let’s get out of here. Screw it.'”
As luck would have it, Hyde would return to Comerica Park for the series finale between the Los Angeles Angels and Tigers when Pulojs would smash a home run that would go into the history books. What made the moment even more amazing is that Ely passed by an usher who just so happened to have the name of “Cy.”
“I’ve never met another Cy before,” Hydes said. “It’s just a really cool coincidence.”
“It sounds stupid, because he wasn’t even 2, but Cy loved baseball. He would play it, he would watch it, he would light up around it,” Hydes said. “I took him to all those games, and never had to leave a game early.
“How many 6-month-olds would never leave a game early? And a few were night games, and he’d be awake the entire time.
“He really loved it.”
Some things are just worth more to people than the almighty dollar.