Teen sells Matsui's 500th home run baseball, donates to charity

Teen sells Matsui's 500th home run baseball, donates share to charity

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

A Central Florida teenager made a special donation with money made from the sale of a valuable baseball.  

It was dream come true for 16-year-old Michael Schultes, when he caught his very first home run ball while at the Detroit Tigers vs Oakland A's game in 2011.

"I had maybe 20 hands reaching over my shoulder," he said.  "It came right to me, and I caught it, and at that moment, I couldn't believe I caught a home run ball like that!"

Not just any home run,  but a landmark moment for baseball player Hideki Matsui.

"On the back, it says 'Home Run 500' and all the fans were anxiously awaiting, because he was stuck on 499 for weeks."

When the visiting team makes a home run, it's tradition to throw the ball back.

"An usher came up to us and demanded the ball back."  But Michael says the crowd was on his side. "All the fans were yelling, 'Keep it! Keep it!' and they were trying to intimate the usher.  When I realized the value of the ball, it made a difficult choice in my head."

Michael decided to keep the ball and sold it to an auction house for thousands of dollars.  A few days ago, he made his own grand slam, by donating $2,500 to the Community Food and Outreach Center.  "I felt great, I really felt like I was making a difference," he said.

The money will go towards food, medical care and job placement.

"I think it shows an example, almost like a challenge to other members of the community and other 16 year olds who have a little extra to give, but don't always give it."

Meanwhile, the all star teen looks forward to visiting the field of dreams again in the future.

"I may bring my glove next time!"

Michael says the money from the sale will also help pay for four years of college.

 

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