A lifelong San Francisco Giants fan had a piece of team history in his hands after Thursday's game: the walk-off home-run ball that sent the Giants to the World Series.
Then he gave it back.
Frank Burke, who owns a transmission repair business in Oakdale, told the San Jose Mercury News he wanted the man who hit it, Travis Ishikawa, to have the ball.
"Ishikawa is the guy who hit the ball,'' Burke said. "I'm just the lucky guy who caught it.''
So, after having it authenticated by a Giants official and learning Ishikawa wanted it back, Burke went down to the clubhouse area and handed it over. Ishikawa gave him a signed bat in return.
Burke said he had asked for World Series tickets, but was told that might not be possible.
"So I said, 'All right. I was going to give the ball back either way,''' he said.
After doing a media interview the next morning, 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. It will be the Giants' first home game against the Kansas City Royals.[[278074541, R]]
Burke was at Thursday's game with his friend, Greg Leutza, who is battling cancer. He wanted to do something special for Leutza and went searching for tickets after the Giants clinched the National League Division Series, he told another newspaper, the Modesto Bee.
Ishikawa's pennant-clinching, bottom-of-the-ninth homer came their way as they sat above the stadium's right field wall.
"My main thought was to keep it in front of me and don't let it fall to the field,'' Burke told the Bee.
The ball went off his left hand, but he was able to corral it. Burke posed triumphantly with the ball for photos and said he gave other fans a chance to touch it as well.
But through it all, Burke said he never thought about trying to cash-in on that playoff memento.
"It never crossed my mind," he said. "For one, it's not how I want to make my money. For two, I wanted it reunited with him....I do believe there are good people out there that would do the same thing. He's the man who hit the ball. I'm just the lucky guy that was in the right place to catch it."
Burke's daughter took to Twitter to document the family's feelings.[[279654202, L]]
"Never thought this would happen dad's number one on Google!" she tweeted.
And: "I'm beyond happy for my dad & his best friend, Greg, battling cancer, to share this amazing experience together," she tweeted.
Burke's other daughter, Kaitlin, also took to Twitter, writing: "My dad is the best he totally deserves every little bit of this!"
On Friday evening, she tweeted: "My dad got 4 World Series tickets for the 3rd game and he's already taking 2 people.. Now it's between Jocelyn, my brother, and me.. PICK ME."