Griffey presents Cards fan with exclusive All-Star trip

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- The fan who gave Ken Griffey Jr. the ball from his 500th home run with no strings attached got another big thank you on Monday.

Griffey showered Mark Crummley, of Mount Carmel, Ill., with gifts after hitting the historic homer on June 20, including an autographed game-used jersey and other Reds-related memorabilia. On Monday, Griffey gave Crummley four expenses-paid trips to Houston for the All-Star Game.

"I didn't expect anything, especially like this," Crummley said. "He took care of everything.

"He's a great guy. Very nice."

Included in the package presented in the dugout before Monday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals were four round-trip airline tickets, four field box tickets, four tickets to the home run derby, four tickets to the fan fest and hotel accommodations. Crummley, 19, also will get to shag in the outfield during the home run derby, and he and Griffey will be guests on the "Best Damn Sports Show Period" Tuesday night.

Crummley said he was taking his father, mother and a friend to the All-Star Game. A former high school baseball player, he joked that he'd be easy to spot among the youngsters in the outfield during the home run derby.

"I'll be the biggest one out there, but that's all right," he said.

After the June 20 game, Crummley said he didn't want to "plea bargain" with Griffey for the ball. That was in marked contrast to recent milestone events in which many fans parlayed their catch into a big payoff.

The fan who caught Mark McGwire's 70th homer in 1998, for instance, sold the ball for more than $3 million. But Crummley didn't hesitate to give the ball to Griffey, a gesture that has been more than repaid.

"I'd do the same thing," Crummley said. "It was the right thing to do."

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