Twelve-year old Jennifer Valdivia was attending a Florida Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies baseball game last July when Ryan Howard hit his 200th career home run. Jennifer was lucky enough to catch the ball, but Howard apparently wanted the ball back.
A representative from the Phillies ball club approached Jennifer in the stands, and told her that if she handed over the ball, he would have Howard sign it for her and Howard would give it back to her personally after the game. After the game, Howard was nowhere to be seen, but a security guard found Jennifer and gave her ball that had been autographed by Howard – a brand new ball, not the one she had caught.
Upon learning what happened, Jennifer’s mother, Delfra Vanegas, called the Phillies and asked them to give her daughter the ball back. The Phillies did not respond until the family’s attorney sued the club for $15,000 and the ball. The Phillies then returned the ball to Jennifer, who says she has no plans to sell it.
When a fan catches a ball in the stands, it is generally accepted that they are allowed to keep it. Taking a ball from a small child because it is believed to be worth a lot of money is an act that is bound to make both Howard and the Phillies look bad to the general public. The fact that they mislead the girl into giving them the ball with false promises would have undoubtedly helped the girl’s case if it had gone to trial.
Find out more about this story at Jennifer Valdivia 12-Year-Old Sues Philadelphia Phillies Over Ball.</a