Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Alex Rodriguez's 600th in safe hands

By Kieran Darcy
ESPNNewYork.com

Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod presented stadium security guard Frankie Babilonia with an autographed bat after the game.

NEW YORK -- In the end, no one hit the lottery on Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run ball.

For the past two weeks, fans clustered in prime home-run locations in the outfield at Yankees games, home and away, hoping to catch a piece of history, and a financial jackpot along with it.

Estimates were that the ball could garner a six-figure sum on the open market.

But Rodriguez's historic homer ended up going out to straightaway center field in Yankee Stadium, landing in Monument Park. The ball was recovered by Frankie Babilonia, a Yankee Stadium security guard.

Babilonia, who was filling in at that spot for another guard who had gone on a break, immediately went and handed the ball to one of his Yankees security superiors, as he had been instructed to do.

"I like doing my job," said Babilonia. "I don't want to put my job at risk."

Babilonia, a 23-year-old from Manhattan who is in his second year working at Yankee Stadium, did receive a reward. Rodriguez presented Babilonia with an autographed bat after the game, and posed for pictures with him.

When asked if he was an Alex Rodriguez fan, Babilonia replied, "Yes. I'm actually a [Derek] Jeter fan, but they're both in the top."

Babilonia said he plans to put the bat in a glass case back home. And he didn't seem disappointed one bit about having to give the ball away.

"It's really a loss for words," Babilonia said. "It's something I'll never forget.

"Later on in the years, if I ever have children, I'll let 'em know, I was the one who caught the 600th ball and I handed it back in."

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

More from ESPNNewYork.com