Law student returns historic ball


The ball that Cal Ripken hit for his 400th career home run took a bad hop before it landed in the appreciative hands of George Washington University law student Daniel Gerkin.

It bounced off the face of another fan in the left-field bleachers -- breaking his nose -- before it squirted through an orchard of outstretched arms and was caught on the fly by the 24-year-old future attorney. The injured fan was not identified.

"As I was ushered out of the stands," Gerkin said, "I was offered $100,000, though I don't know how serious that was."

Ripken countered with a package of autographed items, including a dated bat, a ball, a cap and a pair of cleats. Gerkin probably could have done better on the open market, but he chose the opportunity to meet Ripken and hand the ball over to him personally. It was the second time that he has been present for a historic home run in the past 13 months.

"I'm a Mets fan, and I was at Shea Stadium for [Mark] McGwire's 50th home run [last season]," he said.

Someone asked him which ball he would rather have caught.

"Remember where you are," Ripken chimed in playfully.

"I'm a Mets fan," Gerkin said, "so I would rather catch one from Cal."

Ripken said that the ball probably would be exhibited at one or more of the museums that display important items from his career.

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