Moeller football player catches Elly De La Cruz’s first HR ball, returns it

Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz gestures as he watches his two-run home run against the Los...
Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz gestures as he watches his two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Wednesday, June 7, 2023. This was De La Cruz's first major-league home run. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)(Jeff Dean | AP)
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:57 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Elly Del La Cruz demolished his first career major league home run, sending the ball into the Great American Ball Park stands and into the hands of a Moeller High School football player.

Alex French, a linebacker for Moeller, returned the ball to De La Cruz as French and some of his classmates posed for a photo with the Reds’ newest superstar postgame. A tweet from a Moeller football coach dubbed the young fans “the men of Moeller.”

De La Cruz’s 458-foot home run on Wednesday almost left the ballpark, but it ended up in the hands of the high schooler.

The ball could have sold for a lot of money, with it being De La Cruz’s first MLB home run, if French decided to keep and sell it. French says he was offered $5,000 on the spot for the historic ball. Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter at Action Network, said the baseball’s current day value is around $10,000.

Instead of keeping the ball, the fan returned it to the 21-year-old who was just called up to the Reds on Tuesday.

“I used to play baseball and I remember when I hit my first home run,” French explains. “The first thing I thought about is I want to get that ball and keep it for myself and just keep it with me. That’s what I thought about. So, I was just like it’s better if Elly gets the ball back.”

The Reds tweeted a photo showing De La Cruz holding the home run ball, and next to him was French, holding an autographed bat from the young phenom.

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