CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio man who snared a Joey Votto home run ball during a Cincinnati Reds game this summer is grateful for the chance to finally give the souvenir to the family of a 6-year-old boy who witnessed the blast just weeks before dying of cancer.
Wally Herbert, the father of Walter “Superbubz” Herbert, made an appeal this week for the home run ball so the family can add it to a memorial wall for Walter, who died Oct. 6.
Minutes after hitting the homer, Votto went into the stands to give Walter the home run bat and one of his No. 19 Reds jerseys during the game Aug. 31 in Cincinnati.
Trey Jones saw the appeal on WXIX-TV , looked up Wally Herbert on Facebook, and sent him a message.
“I have a 3-year-old son who would like to give you and your family something very special for Christmas,” Jones wrote.
Wally Herbert said tears filled his eyes when he learned the news.
“This is Christmas to me,” Herbert said. “That was the day I saw my kid the most excited. When we took him to the game where he first met Joey, he would not sit down. That kid, through nine innings, screamed.”
Jones said he tried to return the ball to the family after watching postgame television highlights of Votto giving Walter his bat and jersey. Jones said he contacted the Reds several times but never heard back.
Both families live in Anderson Township outside of Cincinnati. They are planning to exchange the baseball on Friday. Jones’ 3-year-old son Keegan, who also was at the game, will hand it over.
“I can’t imagine what they are going through right now, especially with the holidays, first Christmas without their son,” Jones said. “So any way we can help them out, we will.
“I kind of feel bad it’s taken this long.”
Information from: WXIX-TV, http://www.fox19.com