A historically important baseball is now in the possession of the Baseball Hall of Fame, thanks to the generosity of a fan who wanted to honor his late baby son.
Detroit Tigers fan Ely Hydes caught the souvenir of a lifetime back in May when Albert Pujols’ 2,000th RBI ball landed in his hands. But he also caught a lot of controversy — Hydes went against tradition, deciding to keep the ball for himself and his family instead of giving it to Pujols.
Hydes turned down offers of tickets, meet-and-greets, autographs, and even an offer for $50,000 to keep his rightfully earned keepsake. He received hate messages on Facebook from fans who were irate that he wouldn’t give the ball back, and he was roasted on Twitter and sports talk radio.
There was no rule saying Hydes had to return the ball, but just a day later Hydes offered to give the ball to Pujols, who turned him down. Hydes considered giving the ball to his brother, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and told the Detroit News that he even met with Kirk Gibson, who expressed interest in receiving the ball as a donation for the auction at his yearly Parkinson’s research gala.
But Hydes decided that the ball’s final resting place should be among other baseball artifacts of equal importance. According to the Detroit News, Hydes hand-delivered the ball to Cooperstown in August along with his wife, Lauren Maloney, their newborn daughter Violet, and several family members. He donated the ball in memory of Cyrus Arlo Maloney, his and Maloney’s son who died suddenly last June at 21 months old.
Finally, a resolution on that @PujolsFive 2,000th-RBI baseball.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 24, 2019
Detroiter Ely Hydes turned down lots of cash and a whole bunch of other stuff, and last month hand-delivered the baseball to the @baseballhall.
He donated it in memory of his late son, Cy.https://t.co/LBnkv0pqV7 pic.twitter.com/IP0s7orFCp
Ely Hydes took his young son Cy to lots of #Tigers games before he died at just 21 months old.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 24, 2019
Last month, Ely and his wife Lauren took newborn daughter, Violet Moon, to her first game. pic.twitter.com/U06LWR29O1
Cy, who was named after Cy Young, died after a brief infection while Hydes and his wife were visiting family. Cy wasn’t even 2, but he loved baseball. Hydes had taken Cy to many Tigers games in his short life, and Pujols’ 2,000th RBI game was one of the first he’d been to since Cy died the year before.
There was an impromptu ceremony at the Hall of Fame when Hydes officially donated the ball, and he and his family got a VIP tour of the Hall of Fame museum. He also received a lifetime pass to the museum, and a letter informing him that the ball will be on display in memory of Cy and the people of Detroit.
Hydes received no money for the donation, and he doesn’t regret turning down the $50,000 — even though he has law school student loans to pay off. He told the Detroit News that he’s already taken three-month-old Violet to her first baseball game, and is looking forward to taking her to Cooperstown to show her the ball and tell her about her brother — allowing Cyrus and his memory to live on.
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