'Back of the pile' nets fan ball from 755
Last-minute tickets prove lucky for man who got Bonds' homer
SAN DIEGO -- On Saturday, the best seat in PETCO Park belonged to Adam Hughes. He was the lucky fan who got ahold of Barry Bonds' home run ball, No. 755."I kind of crawled over and reached about five feet away from me. I just watched it above, fall down and reached over and there it was," Hughes said. Hughes sat in the left-field lower box in Section 130, Row 1, Seat 18. The 33-year-old La Jolla, Calif., resident came to the game with his cousin, Justin Marquardt. He was a part of the sellout crowd of 42,497 who came to PETCO Park on Saturday night to witness baseball history between the visiting San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. Bonds blasted home run No. 755 out over the left-field wall in the top of the second inning against Padres starter Clay Hensley. Bonds said he didn't know where the ball went, only that it went out. The highly anticipated homer -- which traveled roughly 382 feet -- hit the facade on the second deck of the left-field pavilion and then landed down in the lower boxes where Hughes was. From that moment on, Hughes was the most sought-after fan at the ballpark. "I was in the back of the pile," Hughes said. "I had seen a few other home runs hit in the park before. This one I just felt, 'Oh man, is this the one that's going to go out of the park from the legend, Barry Bonds?'" It was, but Hughes wasn't sure if he was actually holding the real ball because so many other fans around him were holding balls Bonds drilled out to left field during batting practice. When he did realize it was really No. 755, Hughes was ecstatic. "I pretty much jumped up and I said, 'I got it!" Hughes said. Fans began to congratulate him on his feat. "He was nervous, his arms were shaking, but he was holding the ball up," said Jerry French, who was sitting near Hughes. Within minutes, security found Hughes and took him and Marquardt to the press box, where they remained until the end of the game, a game that ended in the bottom of the 12th inning with the Padres on top, 3-2, to take the series against the Giants. "I think it was quite an accomplishment for one man," Hughes said. The Hall of Fame has not contacted Hughes and he has not spoken to Bonds about whether he wants his ball back. All Hughes knows is that he'll keep it in his possession until further notice. "I don't know what direction to go to," Hughes said of the ball's final destination. "I haven't really decided yet." Hughes said the ball has the number "124" scribbled on it, an authentication mark made by Major League Baseball. Hughes, a Padres fan, said he'll be able to tell his kids about his famous grab for a very long time. "I'm not the one who made any big accomplishment. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It was pretty neat to be a part of history," Hughes said. The red-faced Hughes, who is a plumber, is elated about his current situation in baseball history. Before the game started, Marquardt told him this was going to be a great night. The two only just got their tickets on Friday, thanks to Hughes' mother, who bought them through a friend. "I just happened to wind up in the front row of Section 130," Hughes said.
Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.