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Pujols' 2,000th RBI ball finally lands at HOF

@JayCat11
September 24, 2019

The months-long journey of Albert Pujols’ home run ball for the slugger’s milestone 2,000th career RBI has come to a conclusion. The baseball, snagged by Detroit Tigers fan Ely Hydes -- who at the time had no idea of the significance of the piece of history he held in his

The months-long journey of Albert Pujols’ home run ball for the slugger’s milestone 2,000th career RBI has come to a conclusion.

The baseball, snagged by Detroit Tigers fan Ely Hydes -- who at the time had no idea of the significance of the piece of history he held in his hands that May 9 afternoon -- now belongs to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Pujols is just the third player to reach the 2,000-RBI mark in baseball history after Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Hydes hand-delivered the baseball to Cooperstown during a trip to the Hall with family and friends on Aug. 11-12, Tony Paul of The Detroit News reports. A 33-year-old Detroit law student, Hydes donated the ball in the name of Cyrus Arlo Maloney, his son who was named after Cy Young and only 21 months old when he passed away on June 11, 2018.

The decision ends what had become something of a saga, as Hydes initially declined to turn over the ball to Comerica Park staff in exchange for the opportunity to score loads of swag, signed memorabilia and even a meeting with Pujols himself. Other offers followed in the ensuing months from parties interested in getting their hands on the ball, including one as high as $50,000, according to Paul.

“People always ask that, ‘Was it hard to give it up?’” Hydes said of his choice. “No, honestly. I was aware I was never going to touch it again.”

Still, Hydes plans to make many more trips to Cooperstown to visit the ball, because he wants to make sure to share it with his daughter, Violet Moon Maloney, born May 26, to let her know it honors her late brother.

“I’ll want to show her and tell her the story, just the whole thing,” Hydes said of his daughter, who attended her first baseball game in August.

Does he regret at all passing up on some of the monetary offers he received? Perhaps. But there’s more to this story than that. “I value experiences,” Hydes told Paul in May. “And memories.”

Jason Catania is a reporter and editor for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JayCat11.