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Zack Hample

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Zack Hample
Zack Hample Posing With Baseballs In 2016.jpg
Hample in 2016
Zachary Ben Hample

(1977-09-14) September 14, 1977 (age 42)
Alma materGuilford College
Known forCollecting baseballs

Zachary Ben Hample (born September 14, 1977) is an American baseball collector. He claims that he has collected more than 10,000 baseballs from major league stadiums in North America, including Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th career hit and Mike Trout's first career home run.

Hample has faced criticism from sportswriters, players, and fans, some of whom have pointed out that he has been seen bumping children out of his way in efforts to grab baseballs. He has been banned from three different stadiums.[1]

Baseball collection

Hample claims that he has collected more than 10,000 baseballs from 55 different major league stadiums as of July 1, 2019, including 54 game home runs.[2] He acquired his first ball from a Mets pitcher at Shea Stadium on June 20, 1990.

During the final week that games were played at the old Yankee Stadium, Hample caught home run balls on consecutive nights. On September 16, 2008, he made a leaping catch on a Jason Giambi home run and immediately celebrated with a goofy dance that was captured on TV. The following night, in nearly exactly the same spot in the right-field bleachers, Hample reached far over a railing to make a backhanded catch on a Johnny Damon home run and celebrated with the same dance. Less than two weeks later, on September 28, 2008, Hample caught the last home run ever hit by a Mets player at Shea Stadium, this one off the bat of Carlos Beltran.

Hample claims to have caught 36 baseballs at Great American Ball Park on September 14, 2011, his highest one-day total. Some of Hample's notable catches include Barry Bonds' 724th career home run at PETCO Park on August 16, 2006, the first home run of the 2007 Home Run Derby, hit by Justin Morneau at AT&T Park. Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit, a home run, on June 19, 2015, and Mike Trout’s first major league home run on July 24, 2011, at Camden Yards. On May 28, 2011, he caught his 5,000th career baseball—an Alex Rios batting practice homer at Rogers Centre. On April 18, 2013, he snagged two home run balls in a single game at Yankee Stadium, including the first career homer of Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius.

On October 8, 2008, Hample appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and followed that nearly one year later with an appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Prior to Hample's three notable home run catches of 2008, he had been featured on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and on an episode of the John O'Hurley version of the game show To Tell The Truth, during which he managed to trick the audience and two of the four celebrity panelists.

In March 2012, Hample attended MLB's Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, snagging a total of 23 balls in two games.[3] On April 18, 2013, he caught two home run balls in a single game at Yankee Stadium, including the first career homer of Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius.[4][5][6] On September 14, 2015, he caught an Anthony Rendon home run on the first pitch of the game at Citizens Bank Park.[7] On September 16, 2015, he caught two home runs during the 4th inning at Citizens Bank Park, first grabbing a Jayson Werth home run and later catching a home run by Darin Ruf.[8]

Hample claimed that he got the 10,000th ball in his life at Camden Yards on August 29, 2017. The ball was tossed up to him by Robinson Cano at the end of the 2nd inning.[9]

Personal life

Hample is the son of author, performer, playwright and cartoonist Stoo Hample.[10]

Zack Hample was born in New York City, went to Collegiate Elementary from 1st through 6th grade, Friends Seminary from 7th through 9th grade, and finished up at Columbia Prep.[citation needed] As a child, he played basketball, baseball, and track and field.[citation needed]

He attended Guilford College in North Carolina.[citation needed]


Hample has written three books. The first, How to Snag Major League Baseballs, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1999 when he was a junior at Guilford College. The second, Watching Baseball Smarter, was published by Random House in 2007. His third book, The Baseball, also published by Random House, was released on March 8, 2011. Hample, a writer for minorleaguebaseball.com from 2005 to 2007, contributed the foreword to Major League Baseball: An Interactive Guide to the World of Sports in 2008 and wrote the introduction for Baseball Scorekeeper in 2011.[citation needed]

Fundraising activities

Since 2009, Hample has raised over $200,000 for Pitch in for Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball and softball equipment to underprivileged children all over the world.[11][12][13] With help from his fans, who pledge money for every baseball that he snags at Major League stadiums, and from BIGS Sunflower Seeds, who sponsored him during the 2013 season,[14] In July 2015, Hample gave Alex Rodriguez the ball from his 3,000th hit in exchange for the Yankees donating $150,000 to Pitch In For Baseball.[15][16][17] According to Pitch in for Baseball, Hample has raised "tens of thousands" of dollars for the organization.[18]

Helicopter stunts

On July 2, 2012, Hample attempted to break a world record by catching a baseball dropped from a helicopter 1,000 feet above LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.[19] Wearing catcher's gear that was donated by Rawlings, Hample established a record by catching a softball dropped from a height of 312 feet. He then caught baseballs dropped from heights of 562 feet and 822 feet before the Federal Aviation Administration called off the stunt due to strong winds.[20][21] The 822-foot catch was initially thought to be 762 feet, but a discrepancy in the altimeter settings, which was captured on video and discovered months later, added 60 feet to the altitude. On July 13, 2013, Hample made another attempt at LeLacheur Park and succeeded in catching a baseball dropped from an altitude of 1,050 feet.[22][23][24]


Hample's baseball collecting habit has caused a great deal of controversy inside and outside the game of baseball.[25][26] The New York Post referred to him as "baseball's most hated fan."[27] Clayton Kershaw once refused to give Hample a ball; Hample tweeted that when he asked Kershaw for the ball, Kershaw told him no because Hample already had "7000 of 'em."[28] Hample has been banned from three baseball stadiums due to his aggressive pursuit of baseballs.[1]

Hample acquired a ticket to the Fort Bragg Game on July 3, 2016, at Fort Bragg Stadium that was meant for active duty military personnel and their friends and families.[29] After he came under widespread criticism for taking the ticket, Hample quickly announced that he would donate $100 for every ball he collected to a charity for military veterans.[30] Hample claimed to have caught 11 balls and claimed he would donate $1,100 to AMVETS.[31] He posted a lengthy apology on Twitter, which CBS sports writer Mike Axisa stated "boils down to 'I'm sorry but I really wanted to go.'"[32][31]

Video games

Hample, a competitive video game player, appeared briefly in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. According to Twin Galaxies, he holds official world records on half a dozen classic video games including Breakout (896 points) and Arkanoid (1,658,110 points).[33][34][35]


  1. ^ a b Chase, Benjamin (2017-06-30). "MLB ballhawk Zack Hample gets roasted on Twitter after complaining about Clayton Kershaw". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  2. ^ "Zack Hample's baseball collection: yearly totals". Zackhample.com.
  3. ^ "An American Ballhawk Goes to Tokyo". Nypress.com. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  4. ^ Zack Hample Catches 2 Home Runs During Yankees-Diamondbacks Game (AP/Huffington Post)
  5. ^ Good Day for Gregorius, Better Day for Fan (FOX Sports Arizona)
  6. ^ Famous baseball collector Zack Hample catches home runs by Didi Gregorius and Francisco Cervelli at Thursday night's Yankees game, New York Daily News
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Bryce Harper is lucky he hit his 40th home run where he did Washington Post
  9. ^ Miller, Doug (September 6, 2017). "Film digs into ballhawk Hample's gift of grab". Mlb.com. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Stuart E. Hample, Humorist and Cartoonist, Dies at 84". The New York Times. 24 September 2010.
  11. ^ Charity press release Pitchinforbaseball.org
  12. ^ Renowned baseball collector gets in the charitable spirit Phillyburbs.com
  13. ^ [2][dead link]
  14. ^ BIGS® Sunflower Seeds and the Greatest Ballhawk of All-time Go For an Amazing Baseball Record to Benefit Charity, Yahoo! Finance
  15. ^ A-Rod, Yanks settle dispute, he gets ball from 3,000th hit, USA Today
  16. ^ Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation, Msn.com
  17. ^ Fan presents 3,000th hit ball to A-Rod, Mlb.com
  18. ^ "Zack Hample". Pitch In For Baseball. 30 November 2017.
  19. ^ This baseball stunt goes way back, Lowellsun.com
  20. ^ Hample tries to catch history in Lowell, Minorleaguebaseball.com
  21. ^ [3][dead link]
  22. ^ Zack Hample catches baseball dropped from 1,000 feet, Metro.co.uk
  23. ^ Zack Hample's helicopter drop catch, Yahoo! Sports
  24. ^ Guilford College graduate Zack Hample catches baseball dropped from 1,050 feet, Charlotte News & Observer
  25. ^ Petchesky, Barry. "Ballhawk Zack Hample Throws Fit Because Someone Else Wanted A Baseball". Deadspin.com.
  26. ^ Petchesky, Barry. "Against Ballhawking". Deadspin.com.
  27. ^ Terranova, Justin (20 June 2017). "Why this ballhawk is baseball's most hated fan". Nypost.com.
  28. ^ Terranova, Justin (20 June 2017). "Why this ballhawk is baseball's most hated fan". Nypost.com.
  29. ^ Ball hawk's presence at Fort Bragg causes stir, Espn.go.com
  30. ^ Axisa, Mike (July 4, 2016). "Noted ballhawk donating $100 to charity for each ball caught at Fort Bragg game". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  31. ^ a b Axisa, Mike (July 4, 2016). "There's a petition to ban notorious ballhawk Zack Hample from MLB ballparks". CBSSports.com. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  32. ^ Rodger Mullen Staff. "Baseball collector apologizes for attending Fort Bragg Game – News". Fayobserver.com. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  33. ^ "Twin Galaxies - Interview with Zack Hample at Funspot". Twin Galaxies. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  34. ^ "*True* arcade gaming world records page". Classicarcadegaming.com. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  35. ^ "Arkanoid arcade video game by Taito (1986)". Arcade-history.com. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

External links