Dodgers Fan Keeps Shohei Ohtani’s Record-Setting Home Run Ball

Shohei Ohtani’s two-run home run not only propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers to a much-needed win over the New York Mets on Sunday, it put his name in the record books.

The long ball was the 176th of Ohtani’s career, which allowed him to surpass Hideki Matsui for the most home runs hit by a Japanese-born player in MLB history.

The historic blast was caught by a fan in the right field pavilion. While most milestone balls are given back to the player in exchange for a meet-and-greet and/or autographed memorabilia, the fan opted to keep it, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

The ball was authenticated by the Dodgers, which means the fan will likely be able to sell it for a sizable amount if that is the route they decide to take.

Ohtani found himself in a similar situation when he hit his first home run with the Dodgers. The ball was estimated to be worth $100,000, but Ambar Roman — the fan who retrieved it — agreed to give it back for a pair of autographed hats, an autographed bat and autographed ball.

The fan initially expressed happiness with the exchange on Twitter after the game, but the situation later became a source of controversy amid public opinion she was shorted in the exchange.

The Dodgers made it up to Roman by her back to Dodger Stadium for a meet-and-greet with Ohtani that coincidentally took place on her birthday celebration.

Shohei Ohtani ‘relieved and happy’

Ohtani went seven games between tying and surpassing Matsui for the most home runs by a Japanese-born player in MLB history. “Honestly, I’m relieved and happy,” Ohtani said after the game through interpreter Will Ireton.

“I took a while to get to this point since my last homer. So just honestly happy and relieved.”

Ohtani wasn’t necessarily focused on surpassing Matsui when he began his MLB career, but that changed as he got closer to the record.

“It’s not something I was cognizant of when I first started my career here, but as I gotten to know where he was, then yes,” he said.

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