Ely Hydes Donates Albert Pujols' 2,000th RBI Ball to HOF in Memory of Late Son

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2019

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols celebrates after the Angels' 3-2 win in a baseball game against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Ely Hydes, who caught the Albert Pujols home run on May 9 at Comerica Park—which also happened to be Pujols' 2,000th RBI—decided to give the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame last month, according to Tony Paul of The Detroit News.

According to that report, "The ball was given the designation as being donated in the name of Cyrus Arlo Maloney, Hydes' son who was 21 months old when he died suddenly on June 11, 2018. Cyrus, named after Cy Young, was a regular at Comerica Park and loved baseball, even at his age."

Tony Paul @TonyPaul1984

Finally, a resolution on that @PujolsFive 2,000th-RBI baseball. 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 https://t.co/IP0s7orFCp

Tony Paul @TonyPaul1984

Ely Hydes took his young son Cy to lots of #Tigers games before he died at just 21 months old. Last month, Ely and his wife Lauren took newborn daughter, Violet Moon, to her first game. https://t.co/U06LWR29O1

Hydes became the center of controversy after he declined to hand over the ball to Detroit Tigers security after catching the home run, despite being offered "autographs, swag and a meet-and-greet." He told Paul he felt pressured by Tigers staff and didn't appreciate it, instead choosing to hold onto the ball initially. 

He quickly received hate messages on social media for keeping the ball and was lambasted by 97.1 The Ticket radio host Kyle Bogenschutz when he went on his show. 

He said he offered the ball back to Pujols the next day, but the Los Angeles Angels slugger told him he was well within his rights to keep the souvenir, per Paul's report. 

Instead, he chose to donate it to the Hall of Fame, which gave him a lifetime pass to the museum in exchange. He had more lucrative offers, including $50,000 from one fan, but chose to pass it along to the keepers of baseball history instead. 

As Paul wrote, "Hydes said he certainly understands not everyone would've done what he did with the baseball. He knows many would've made the quick sale or trade. He also knows money and stuff come and go. Meanwhile, memories last forever—and this one, like Pujols' home run, was one for the ages."

The baseball was of particular significance since Pujols is just the fourth player in baseball history to officially reach 2,000 RBI—he now has 2,074—alongside Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,214) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086).

Now, the ball will be waiting for Pujols when he inevitably is enshrined into Cooperstown's Hall. The 39-year-old currently sits at fourth all-time in RBI along with being sixth in homers (656) and 15th in hits (3,199).