Meet Christian Lopez: The Yankee Fan Who Caught 3,000

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Published July 11, 2011

| Fox News Latino

A cool $50,000. Even $100,000 to $250,000. 

Half a million dollars!

Those are some of the estimates for how much Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit – a home run – might sell for in the collectibles market. But when the ball settled into Christian Lopez's hands, he didn't have to think twice about his price.

"I was just happy I caught the ball," the Highland Mills, New York, native told Fox News Latino. 

Lopez, 23, never considered trying to sell the ball in the open market. After he emerged from the scrum, he was whisked away to the bowels of Yankee Stadium, with the head of security in front of him, asking him what he wanted for the ball. 

Lopez said he hadn't thought about that. He turned to his father, Raul Lopez, for guidance.

"You’re a grown man," his proud father said. "You make your own decisions."

And the young man – who has Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Nicaraguan roots – did just that.

He said that it would "be cool to get a jersey or something," and maybe some bats and balls.

The Yankees decided on Derek Jeter-autographed bats, balls, and jerseys. And they threw in four Champions Suite season tickets for every remaining home game this season, including the playoffs, to go along with his front row seats for Sunday's game after he caught 3,000.

"The jerseys and balls are going to be the sickest," Lopez said. "I'll frame those right away and give one to my girlfriend.

"The president gave me his card," Lopez added, referring to Yankees President Randy Levine. "I'm going to e-mail him a little later and ask them to make out one of the jerseys to my girlfriend's family so I can give it to her for her birthday next week.

"She started crying last night, her grandma was a big fan of Derek Jeter," Lopez continued. "This means a lot to her. I know how much Derek Jeter means to her family."

When Lopez was interviewed by Michael Kay live on the YES Network after he caught the ball, he said that as a Latino, Jeter means a lot to him.

"I just meant that as a minority, he's done a lot for our generation," Lopez said on Monday. "I grew up watching the guy; he's done a lot for us. As a minority he's had struggles to go through and he's overcome a lot. I look up to that in the man. He's an icon for our generation."

And for the lifelong Yankee fan, he can't pick just one memory that stands out as his favorite from the whirlwind game.

"I remember the whole day," Lopez said. "I got to watch the rest of the game from George Steinbrenner's suite. I met Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Jay-Z and Derek Jeter.

"I was like a kid in a candy shop."

Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at Adrian.Carrasquillo@foxnewslatino.com or on Twitter @RealAdrianC.

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http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2011/07/11/meet-christian-lopez-yankee-fan-who-caught-3000/