Baseball collector not giving up Alex Rodriguez's milestone ball

A man at Yankee Stadium who ended up with the ball that Alex Rodriguez launched for his 3,000th hit Friday is holding on to the prized souvenir.

At least for now.

"At first, I was 100 percent adamant about not giving the ball back," Zack Hample told The Associated Press. "Now, I'm thinking about it."

"I'm not making any definite decisions tonight and probably not tomorrow, either," he said an hour after New York beat Detroit 7-2. "I want to enjoy the moment."

Hample, 37, has experience in catching baseballs. He describes himself as a pro at catching home run balls, written about the art and has snagged at least 8,161 balls at stadiums across the country.

"Got 12 tonight. Got 11 in batting practice and one during the game by some guy," he said, laughing.

Hample is a New York Yankees season-ticket holder and was in his favorite spot in right field – section 103, row 12, seat 24 – when Rodriguez connected for the solo shot in the first inning off Justin Verlander.

Hample raised his Rawlings glove, but the crowd surge pushed him forward. Good fortune was on his side, however.

"I looked down and the ball was at my feet. It ricocheted, and it was almost touching my shoe," he said.

Hample snagged up the ball and posted a picture of it on Twitter. Almost immediately, the Yankees visited him to see if he would make a deal for the ball. It didn’t come easy to the Yankees’ personnel.

A day earlier, Hample tweeted about Rodriguez: "That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan."

After talking to the Yankees, Hample posted that he "told the Yankees I'm keeping it."

Rodriguez, meanwhile, later mentioned the fan who snared Derek Jeter's home run ball for his 3,000th hit in 2011. That man was all too eager to return it to the former Yankees star.

"Where's Jeet's guy? That's the guy I needed," Rodriguez said. "I wasn't so lucky."

In the latter part of the game, it seemed to be a lost cause. Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said efforts to have the man deal directly with team president Randy Levine didn’t work.

"As far as we're concerned, we have done everything we could to engage this guy in some type of discussion about some type of exchange. He had none of anything we were saying. He wouldn't engage at all," Zillo said. "He is not intending to give it to us."

"This guy is pretty well-documented. A professional home run catcher," Zillo said.

Hample has returned balls in the past. He said he gave back the first home runs hit by Mike Trout and Didi Gregorius, free of charge.

"This is something more special," Hample said.

But Hample ended up watching the ninth inning with Levine and Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, and said he's considering what to do.

''They were so nice, and that made me think about what I want to do," Hample said. "There's no right or wrong in this. We'll just see."

The Associated Press contributed to this report