Fan returns home run ball, gets bat instead
Fan returns home run ball, gets bat instead San Francisco Giants Travis Ishikawa hits a three-run home run (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Fan returns home run ball, gets bat instead
Lexile: 950L

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A lifelong San Francisco fan had a piece of team history in his hands last week, the home run ball that sent the Giants to the baseball World Series.

Then he gave it back.

Frank Burke, who owns a transmission repair business in Oakdale, Calif., said that he wanted the hitter, Travis Ishikawa, to have the ball.

"I believe in karma," he told The Associated Press. "I didn't hit that ball .... if anybody's going to have that ball in their game room or trophy case, it's going to be the guy who hit it."

Burke said he hadn't planned on keeping the ball. He keeps home run balls from his high school days in his own trophy case.

"They're still important to me, they're part of my memories," he said. "So why would I think that he (Ishikawa) wouldn't want the same thing?"

So after having the ball authenticated by a Giants official, and being told that Ishikawa wanted it back, Burke went down to the clubhouse area and handed it over. Ishikawa shook hands, thanked him, and gave him a signed bat in return.

Burke said Giants officials asked him what he would like and he suggested World Series tickets but was told that was unlikely.

After doing a media interview the next morning, however, he got a call from the Giants. Burke now has four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series at San Francisco's AT&T Park on Friday night. It will be the Giants' first home game against the Kansas City Royals.

Burke plans on taking his friend, Greg Leutza, who is battling cancer.

The two were at last Thursday's game because Burke wanted to do something special for Leutza and went searching for tickets after the Giants won the National League Division Series.

Ishikawa's drive came their way as they sat above the stadium's right field wall in the ninth inning with two Giants on base.

As the ball sped toward him, Burke thought to himself: "Soft hands, soft hands. Don't let this thing bounce back on the field."

The ball went off his left hand but he was able to grab it with his right.

"The whole place erupted," Burke said. "It was a walkoff home run. We were going to the World Series!" Other fans clustered around.

"I couldn't move from where I was because everyone around me wanted to touch the ball, take pictures with the ball. I must have taken 300 selfies in 15 minutes," he said.

After meeting Ishikawa and turning over the ball, Burke and Leutza walked out of the clubhouse "like two little kids, hootin' and hollerin'," he said.

But Burke said the ball and the bat weren't the things he treasured most.

"Just the memory for me and my buddy, that's priceless," he said. "That meant more to me than anything else will."

Critical thinking challenge: This story describes two thoughtful things that Frank Burke did. What are they?

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Assigned 13 times

  • MadisonSch
    10/24/2014 - 01:31 p.m.

    Frank Burke proves if you do something nice for others, good thing will happen to you. Frank gave up a game winning ball back to the one who hit the ball in the first place when he could of easily sold the ball online for tons of money. His day brightened up even more when he got a bat signed and tickets for him and his friend for one of the baseball teams game.

  • Ashleypatt
    10/24/2014 - 01:31 p.m.

    Frank burke did a thoughtful thing i saw that because when we would hit a home run he would keep the ball. I would do the same thing so when i look back at my sports i can enjoy remembering a good memory. Also when you get older and have kids you can so them how great of a good job you did playing sports and tell them why you kept alot of these things. Its funny when he said when he would try to move everyone just wanted to touch the ball. That he should feel proud of himself because everyone is around him to let him know he did a great job.

  • CharismaM
    10/24/2014 - 01:45 p.m.

    Frank Burke is a very considerate person for what he did. Not only did he return the ball to the rightful owner but he took his friend with him, someone who is going through rough patch in their life, to one of the best baseball games he could ever imagine.

  • CharismaM
    10/24/2014 - 01:45 p.m.

    Frank Burke is a very considerate person for what he did. Not only did he return the ball to the rightful owner but he took his friend with him, someone who is going through rough patch in their life, to one of the best baseball games he could ever imagine.

  • DBenjamin-Cas
    10/24/2014 - 04:22 p.m.

    I thought that it was thoughtfull. I agree with the fan because that is a memory that the player will never forget. Also, that the fan should get the bat and a free ticket to the wold series for thinking about the player instead of himself.

  • tyresel-Orv
    10/24/2014 - 07:06 p.m.

    Well it was a nice thing he did and was very thoughtful. It seems as if karma was good to him. I probably would have sold the stuff he gave him.

  • GSteven-Cas
    10/25/2014 - 09:47 p.m.

    If Frank Burke didn't believe in karma then he would have not got tickets to the world series also he wouldn't have got a singed bat.

  • miguelr-Koc
    10/27/2014 - 12:25 a.m.

    Not that many people would return the ball and keep it for themselves and I would've had kept it. But he deserved tickets and a bat for what he did.

  • jarodc-Wil
    10/27/2014 - 09:08 a.m.

    frank burke a man who owns his own transmission repair company in Oakdale, . he was at a baseball game when he caught a fly ball and when he said he wanted to return it. people went crazy but he wants to return to Ishikawa because those baseballs are his memories of baseball. i would not have returned it but that was his choice. the giants manager asked frank what he wanted in return and he asked for world series tickets.he is going to take his friend that is fighting cancer at the time being hope for the best. Ishikawa also have frank a signed baseball bat

  • codyh-Man
    10/28/2014 - 10:20 a.m.

    I think what the fan did was really thoughtful and generous may this moment live on with him of the rest of his life; May his friend survive the battle with cancer and get better.

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