Snagging baseballs for charity

pitch_in_for_baseball.jpgYou know how some people run marathons for charity and get their friends to pledge money for every mile? Well, that’s sort of what I’m going to be doing in 2009–except my marathon will be the entire Major League Baseball season, and I’ll be snagging balls instead of running miles. (Cool, huh?) I’ve hooked up with a charity called Pitch In For Baseball that collects new and “gently used” baseball equipment and re-distributes it to needy kids around the world. It’s a great cause, it’s very easy to make a pledge, and I’m more excited about baseball than ever.

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    Very fine thing to do – employing your skills and enthusiasm to make kids happy by helping them to get balls, bats and gloves. I made a pledge.

  2. braves04

    Great idea, Zack. Baseball is a great game that everyone should have a chance to experience. Making a pledge was a no brainer. Good luck on $50K!

  3. Howie

    In your recap of games, under the STATS column, you should add a stat that says, “Game’s Donations= $X.XX”
    I am gonna try to donate. Great Idea!!


    Zack – Great idea! Made a pledge. Lets see you get at least 600 this year :)


    you should try to get on anlother show to promote the program. not only is it going to raise money, but it is great publicity. and when the seasons over, and if you raise a ton of money, i bet you could get on outside the lines, or one of the feuture stories on sportscenter


    congrats zack. you’re the only guy i know that could find a way to snag baseballs for the good of society.

  7. ladod4ever

    That’s great zack.. Are you gonna donate every ball or just some part of it….it’s a good idea to snag more balls you can tell players that there for charity

  8. goislanders4

    wow, thats awesome! I WANT TO TRY TO DONATE!

    on a not so good note, ma boy Lastings changed his number from 44 to 85 because Adam Dunn is 44 and he stole L Mill’s number!

  9. zackhample

    Thanks so much for the support and encouragement (and especially the pledges). I think this thing is gonna be HUGE by the end of the season.

    Great idea. Believe me, I’ve already been planning to do that.

    There are a few media angles already in the works. Hopefully it’ll be the type of story that really catches on.

    I’m not sure yet. I’m still figuring that out.

    Think of the Milledge switch like this: you now have a collector’s item that shows you were a fan from the start.

  10. baseballexperiences

    Hey Zack, long time no comment. I didnt get to congratulate you on your new book, hope it’s as good as your first two. I think this is a great thing to do for charity. You have my pledge, i will donate as soon as i get along to it. Baseballs right around the corner! Joe

  11. goislanders4

    i guess so, but it won’t be the same seeing Mills in a new number. 44 was so perfect for him. he shouldve stayed in the 40’s.

  12. stlfan


    Yesterday there were 25 donors. Now there are 31!! This is gonna be sweet. Also, maybe donate some of the actual balls. Then you would be giving even more.

  13. padreleigh

    Hey Zack…

    GREAT idea on the snagging for charity. I’ll definitely be on board. I got from Phoenix with about 25 balls in six games. Nothing special. One WBC ball at the Australia vs Mariners game, one ground rule 2B, one foul ball, about 5 gamers from umpires after games and a host of other third out balls and “toss ups”. Not throw ups. Ha ha. Got a TON of autos too. WBC in San Diego starting Sunday. Looking forward to it. Want to catch a “meaningful” HR in LF during a game. Talk to you soon.


  14. raysrenegade

    That is an awesome idea. I know they had three local stars do something like that in Tampa Bay a few years ago and they did not advertise it outside the ballpark and it fell a bit short. But with over 4 million sets of eyes ( As Mark our guru has been quoted as saying) past by every year.

    We could get a great grass roots situation going here.
    Kudos for the idea, and the sweat and know-how to get it on the road.

    Rays Renegade

  15. zackhample

    Thanks in advance! It’ll be great to have you on board.

    I guess it’ll take some getting used to.

    And now there are 37. We’re up to almost $8 total per ball, so if I snag 200 balls this season, that’ll be $1,600 for the charity. Not bad, right? And we’re just getting started. I’m thinking about donating some balls too.

    Thanks…and congrats on the WBC ball. Thanks for not calling them “throw ups” any more. :-)

    What do you mean three stars did something like that? Who were the people and what exactly did they do? Anyway, thanks very much.

    Thanks so much.

    Thank YOU as well.

    Much appreciated, and yes, it’s true about Toronto. I just booked the trip. But wait, what’s this about two of the best meeting? You’re not saying YOU are going to be there, are you? You’re talking about a certain someone who lives up there?

    Thanks for the continued support.

  16. padreleigh

    One the eve of round two play in the WBC I was debating something with a friend of mine. There are 16 countries involved with the tournament. I was wondering how they could expand the tournament to include more countries. Now, the debate. What new countries do you get to participate. You need at least four for a group, and maybe 8 more to make it work. I was thinking…. Colombia, Nicaragua, Russia, Israel, Phillipines, Germany, Bahamas, and maybe the UK or France. What does anyone else think? Am I missing any other countries?


  17. MLBallhawk

    Hey Zack! Tomorrow will be my first day of “Ballhawking”. We are headed off to the WBC workout day at Petco!
    Leigh – I am guessing that you will be there?
    I haven’t heard much from TracyCollinsBecky lately, is he going to be there as well?
    Hope all is well with everyone! By the way this is an awesome idea with catching baseballs for charity!! About 11 years ago I did something similar way back in the late 80’s out here in CA. I had a local Childrens Hospital that I would give baseballs to that I caught and they would raffle them off. I always got them signed by the guys that hit them! They even raffled off a few home run balls that I caught and raised a good amount of money with them!
    Maybe we can get all the Ballhawk’s across the country involved and turn it in to something HUGE!!

    PS I will be live TWITTERING the goings on tomorrow

  18. stlfan

    Not bad at all Zack. Haha. I’m on break now, another sign of baseball. Can’t wait, baseball yaaaaaa.


    Hey Zack, I just found out that they will be opening Yankee Stadium three hours early for every game this year.

    Just thought I’d let you know (although I’m sure you would have found out eventually).


  20. zackhample


    I know I can’t come up with a good answer, so I’m just keeping quiet.

    Greats minds think alike. Very cool that you did charity work for that hospital. It’d be great to get other ballhawks involved this time around, but I’m still not sure how thing whole thing is gonna play out. Good luck at the WBC!

    Thank you! Tell your parents that even if they only pledge a couple cents per ball, it’ll still help the cause.

    I could use a break right about now…

    Whoa! This actually makes me want to go there now.

    Thanks for the link. Damn.

  21. Charlie

    It’s Charlie. I just remembered this place and decided to stop by, and saw the post about the new book! AWESOME!

    You probably don’t remember me, it’s been maybe a year since I last commented. Anyway, I am thinking of starting my blog up again, or I am talking with some people to start a fantasy baseball website.

    Hopefully I’ll be around more.

    -Charlie in Colorado

  22. thomasb.

    Zack, will this affect the way you judge if a ball should “count” or not, so you get more or less money? I remember from past stories that you have had controversial calls on whether or not they should count in your collection. I think you could very easily get over 500 balls again this season, so may the baseball gods look with favor upon you!

  23. zackhample

    I *do* remember you, and I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet last season when I went to Coors Field. There’s a 50/50 chance I’ll be back there this year. You better be there too. Good luck with the web site.

    Nope, not at all. Of course I want to raise as much money as possible for Pitch In For Baseball, but the integrity of my collection is at stake. Therefore, the same rules as always will apply. If there’s a controversy about whether a particular ball should count, I will try to judge it objectively and ask other people to do the same. I’d love to snag another 500 balls this season, but that’s going to be tough for two reasons. First, both NYC ballparks will be nightmarish all season, as will Citizens Bank Park, and I don’t plan to go there much. Second, I have to write a book this year, so that’ll be cutting into my free time and preventing me from attending as many games as I’d like. I still think I’ll be able to snag 200 balls at the very least. Probably 300 and maybe even 400, but I don’t know if I can get much higher than that.

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