Odds of Catching a Foul Ball

The other day I attended an Orioles game and just like every other baseball game I’ve been to in my entire life, I didn’t catch a foul ball. I didn’t catch a home run ball either, but that would have been impossible where I was sitting.

While I was watching a few lucky fans snag souvenirs, I wondered what my chances of catching a foul ball actually were. Doing some quick back of the envelope calculations, I figured there were maybe 30 balls a game hit into the stands, and maybe around 30,000 fans at each game. If that were the case, about 1 in every 1000 fans would walk away with a foul ball/home run.

In reality, there were 120,946 foul balls and home runs during the 2005 season and 74,915,268 fans in attendance that same year, which ends up being about 1 in every 619 fans end up with a ball. This is probably better than the actual odds since not all foul balls are hit into the stands.

If we were to say half of all foul balls were hit onto the field and the other half hit into the stands then the odds jump to 1 in 1189.

Finally, there are some places in a stadium where you couldn’t possibly catch a foul ball, and other places where you’d likely increase your chances, making that 1 in 1189 is hardly 100% accurate, but good enough for a rough estimate.

Odds are, the only way I’ll be getting a baseball at a game, is at the souvenir stand.




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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

82 Responses to “Odds of Catching a Foul Ball”

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  1. Dumonk says:

    I’ve also wondered this as well. It would be an interesting study.

    Some other factors.

    –Many stadiums have “holes” so to say in between the fence and the stands where HR balls disappear. Goes the same as a place like Wrigley Field where the fans in the stadium may not get a HR ball hit since it leaves the stadium. Or Kauffman stadium where a great amount of the outfield isn’t accessible to the fan.

    –Some of the nice things of ballplayers is that they actually throw balls that were the 3rd out back into the stands at the end of the inning. Or the in between inning balls players sometimes throw up into the crowd. The only ball I ever got at a MLB game was due to the fact that the LF of the game warming up with a ballboy in between innings horribly misthrew a ball into the stands that luckily landed in my lap. They expected me to throw it back, but its hard to deny a grinning 8 year old a baseball.

    –On your last point, it would be interesting to see where certain stadiums “hot zones” are. It definitely might influence ticket sales for the math minded. Finding the best value ticket while maximizing optimal souvenirage.

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    • scott says:

      and sometimes when they are milton bradley, they throw the 2nd out into the stand.

      :)

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    • Brian B says:

      At a minor league Iowa Cubs game tonight in Des Moines, my 8-year-old son snagged two foul balls in a row–that’s two consecutive pitches, two fouls, both caught by the same kid–what are the chances of that? I told him afterwards that he will never have that happen to him again in his entire life. We were in the deck behind home. Both balls went over the safety net.

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      • Tim says:

        Late for a PawSox game one night, I walked to the stadium with my family and a ball fouled back went over the roof, bounced once for a simple one hand grab. Once inside, I picked two home-run balls in left field. Hat-trick, with one part completed before I even walked into the park. Still, the answer is the same for you as a ball-player…get where the ball is going. Seeing that your seat limits that, just find the best place to get a seat…

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  2. Patrick says:

    If you want a foul ball, I suggest going back in time to see a Montreal Expos game from late in the 2001 season at Stade Olympique, and sitting in an empty region (there were plenty) all by yourself. Since there would be no competition for foul balls, I think you could boost those odds to maybe 1 in 25 or so, depending on how fast you can cover the empty ground. This is essentially how I caught my only foul ball, albeit it was at a minor-league game and time-travel was not involved.

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  3. Pizza Cutter says:

    This post made me smile. Thanks David.

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  4. Oriole Fan says:

    I actually caught a foul ball at an Orioles game this week (Monday afternoon’s)! My first one ever – it was definitely a thrill…

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  5. Pizza Cutter says:

    One other source of actual game balls. At the end of an inning, if the last out is a fly ball to the OF, the fielder usually flips it into the stands. Also, ground rule doubles would have to be factored in, as would errant throws from third to first that end up in the stands.

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  6. Brent says:

    The only balls I’ve caught have been during batting practice. It’s a great time to get some as there are far less people and the odds go way up and there are more homers.

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  7. Jeff Fetzer says:

    Re: Foul Ball at Expos’ game
    This would seem sensible, but those Montreal ushers were so zealous that you had to sit in your ticketed seat. Most of the sections were closed off, and if you ventured in you would be quickly shoo-d away. In fact, most sparsely attended ballparks jam everyone together in a few sections to make it appear (?) that there’s more folks there.

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  8. Dan says:

    Good post. I caught a ball at the Coliseum once off a ricochet from the facing of the upper deck there…and then had another come to my exact same seat two innings later(w/o the bounce off the wall, backspin is NASTY). I’m guessing I won’t see another ball again for a while, huh?

    BTW, it’s always been assumed by me that I would like to sit behind the dugout on the first base side for a better chance to catch a ball. I have always imagined that since there are more righties batting then lefties, and foul balls are more of a result of being behind the ball than ahead of it, you would have a better chance of getting a ball on the first base side(all hypothetical jibber jabber on my part here of course…I am assuming alot).

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    • Boston Phan says:

      Ive gotten three foul balls in my lifetime (i wonder how many people have achieved this?), but all in the past 4 years. no one else in my family has ever gotten one and we have had season tickets my whole life. indeed, i sit first base side right past canvas alley. definitely has to be a hot spot there.

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  9. Douglas DeConnick says:

    Years ago, while attending batting practice at Anaheim Stadium, Rod Carew yelled at an usher to throw a ball into the stands. I could hear
    Rod’s voice and this left a lasting impression on me.

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  10. Michael Durant says:

    David – very timely article for me.

    Big Red Sox fan living in SC. I was watching a Red Sox – Ranger game about 2 weeks ago, and the NESN announcers were commenting on a fan who had caught a ball earlier in the game, and had a 2nd try later in the game bounce off his glove, and I remember Jerry Remy (Sox announcer) saying “what are the odds of that, catching 2 foul balls in one game?”

    I know you’re not gonna want to hear this (and I’d love to see you do the odds of this), but at a Red Sox – A’s matchup in the mid-90′s at Fenway, I *caught 2 foul balls in one game. One was in the 3rd inning off of Troy O’Leary, and another in the 5th inning off of Reggie Jefferson. We were sitting down the left field line that day.

    Now I don’t think this matters, but I put the * on the word ‘caught’ above because I didn’t actually catch either ball cleanly. The first ball came right at us, and as usual – glanced off a crowd of people in front of us, and landed between some empty seats to the right of us. I cross-body-blocked one of the adults sitting next to us, and gave myself enough time to swipe it off the ground. I felt some guilt for putting a linebacker move on the guy, but I’m still pretty proud of the maneuver to this day.

    I got lucky once again on the 2nd ball. Back in the mid-90′s, Fenway wasn’t the consistent sell-out it is today, and there were a few empty seats around us. In the 5th, Reggie Jefferson sent a line shot down the left field line into the stands about 20-30 feet to my left towards the Monster. I remember getting a clean run out of my seat into this open row of 10 or more seats, and used the same logic as before – let the goofballs in front of me jump after it at the same time and hope it comes my way – and it worked perfectly. The ball ricocheted off the crowd, took one clean hop off the concrete and into my hands.

    At the time of the 2nd foul ball, my girlfriend was getting us beers downstairs. She came back up and was excited to tell me that she saw replays of me getting the ball on the TV down below. That’s when I flashed her ball #2, told her that it wasn’t a replay, and the celebration was on.

    As I sat there over the next inning or so, I started to feel some guilt over the cross-body-block move I planted on the other guy in the 3rd inning, so I gave him one of the balls.

    Which leads me to the remaining evidence I have of this feat – I have a picture of me and the cross-bosy-block victim both holding my foul balls (he somehow built up the strength to smile for the shot). I have 3 witnesses, my then girlfriend and her parents. I’m also actually considering contacting the Red Sox to request possible footage, since my guess is that there are only a few of us out there who have been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time in the right game. I’ve always kept every ticket stub of every event I’ve ever attended – so once I locate that I can give them the specific date, inning, and batter.

    I have been to approximately 75 major and minor league games before and after that, and have never seen another ball even come close to me.

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  11. Marisa says:

    My family and I were at a Red Wings game today and my uncle caught 2 foul balls in the same seat.
    What are the odds of that?

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    • Kurt says:

      I would say nearly impossible considering the Red Wings are a hockey team and he caught 2 foul “balls” not 2 “pucks”… So did he go to the baseball game and you went to the Red Wings game with the rest of your family? The point of telling us about the hockey game? Are you confused as to which mascot in Detroit (if that’s where you are) is the baseball team? If you are confused about Red Wings and Tigers or Detroit and whatever city you are in, etc. Why are you posting on a sabermetrics site? I mean this isn’t the site that attracts attention for those people that can’t name the 30 MLB teams off the top of their head… Please explain… I am waiting with baited breath!

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    • Stephen says:

      Ive caught 4 in one minor league game so it’s not that uncommon. Over the whole season over 50 from just Sunday games

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  12. Gavin says:

    What’s weird about this post is that I was at a White Sox / Orioles game last night and caught a foul ball. I have never caught a ball before, and there were about 10 guys around me trying to get it. I didn’t even stand up, it just kind of fell into my lap!

    Great souvenir!

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  13. Steichen says:

    I once got seven balls in one day at Miller Park. The key is going behind the left field fence during batting practice, bringing your glove and being polite to the players out in the field.

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  14. Jed says:

    I’ve only caught one foul ball in almost 200 games. It bounced off some seats and into my hand. This is how most foul balls are “caught”. So I wouldn’t bother bringing a glove to a ballgame. Be ready to get the ball off the bounce or after it slams into the seats.

    After the ball hits the seats/ground/whatever, it’s basically a mad scramble (especially if it’s at a crowded stadium). You have to be careful not to bump your head on the seats or on the heads of other souvenier-seekers when you go head first for it under the seats.

    The best way to get a souvenier ball is during batting practice. I was able to catch one just the other day. You could “ask” a player to toss you a ball, but that is the lamest way of getting one. Leave the begging to the kids. You want to get a ball that was hit by an actual player.

    The tiers of getting a souvenier baseball are (from best to worst):
    1) Throwing-Error
    2) Home-Run or Ground-rule-double
    3) Tossed into stands after last out of inning
    3) Foul Tip
    4) Batting Practice
    5) Tossed from a player during batting practice (This is for kids. Adults should not be begging for batting practice balls)
    6) Buy one from the team store (Yes, you are a loser!).

    Why is a throwing-error ball the best? Because it means that at least two defensive players touched the ball! Home runs happen all the time, but throwing errors into the stands are a rarity!

    Good luck!

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  15. Check out my website and MLBlog. I have caught 2800 baseballs at Major League Baseball games over the past 30 years and another 2000 baseballs at minor league games! Of those 2800 baseballs I have caught 99 of them are Game Home Run Balls. The more memorable HR’s I have caught were Sosa’s 61st in 1998, Dave Winfields 450th, Carlton Fisk’s 350th and many others!

    I even offer “Ballhawking 101 – The Class” for those of you that want to learn the finer art of catching baseballs at MLB games!

    http://www.majorleagueballhawk.com
    http://majorleagueballhawk.mlblogs.com

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    • kris says:

      ….I offer a course on how to get laid; Collecting 2800 Baseballs, for reasons beyond my comprehension, did not make the curriculum.

      Yes, I was shocked too…

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  16. Steve B says:

    Believe it or not I have actually caught 2 foul balls. One was at the now demolished Veterans Stadium and one at the new Citizens Bank Park. And I narrowly missed a third that my bud in the next seat caught. I didn’t have to chase any of them. They all literally found me. Very luckily I was both an infielder and an outfielder as they were all screamers and my reflexes saved me bodily harm….lol….

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  17. John S says:

    I need to do a final project for a GIS class, and I would like to map a season’s worth of balls that are hit into the stands at a particular ballpark . . . home runs & foul balls. Ideally I would like to do this for Coors Field, as I live in Denver, but would do any park that I could get the data for. What I’m thinking is to divide the stadium into sections and go from there. I realize breaking it down into individual sections would be too much. (However, I have ambitious plans to break it down by lefty vs. righty hitter . . . we’ll see how *that* goes).

    And that leads me to my question. Does anybody know if such data is kept and, if so, who keeps it?

    Thanks for any help or advice any of you can provide!!

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  18. Lauren says:

    the other day i attended an angels game vs. the orioles game at angel stadium and i was one of the lucky few who caught a foul ball.and i am only 13 so it was sooo cool to have tha happen

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  19. maryland terp says:

    I went to the O’s game yesterday and got in the arm with a foul ball – ouch! But I got to keep it YAY.

    Too bad we lost :(

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  20. Bubba hotep says:

    Funny,

    I went ot Wrigley 3 years ago. My wifes Nephew was kind enough to get us tickets down the 1rst base side in prime foul ball area. During batting practice a ball came our direction and my wife jumped out of the way. I was like “what are you doing?” Then I calmed down and said” I would just give it to a kid. anyway. Well, the 7th inning rolled around a ball came careening down the walkway, I jumped(catapult roll) down the stairs the ball bounced pass about 5 people and I blocked it with my chest. Stuck my hand out and my forearm was gripped by 3 other people. Needless to say I pulled it out and put it straight in my pocket. No celebration for I have the holy grail !

    My wife missed the whole thing in the rest room, I kicked over both of our last beers. Ripped my pants and apparently I forget that whole give it to a kid thing.

    I figured one trip to Wrigley and I get a ball. It was harmonic convergence

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  21. Milkman says:

    I had always wanted to nab a foul ball at a Major League game. After hundreds of games, some where I tried to position myself in the best sections, I got my first one at the age of 38! That was in 2000 at the old Busch Stadium in an interleague game against the Royals. Then I got my second one in 2002 in Kansas City against the White Sox. I’ll be darned if I didn’t get a third one in Pittsburgh in 2004 also!! What’s really cool about all this is that one game was an interleague game, one was an American League game and one was a National League game! And in three different stadiums. I guess after all those games the law of averages worked out for me!

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  22. Ron T says:

    I am bringing my glove to the Brewers opener on Friday, because last year I had a chance to catch a foul ball on the second level on the first base line. I missed it because it was moving unbelievably fast with tremendous backspin. I did manage to knock it down for the lucky jerk behind me who was afraid to show it to me because he thought I would steal it back. This year I will bring my glove and at least not jam a finger if I miss it.

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  23. Bill says:

    I had never even gotten close to a foul ball, but then two years ago, I got two in one game. The first one I snagged as it was bouncing over the railing of the upper deck behind home plate at Camden Yards. I wanted to get it signed by the guy who hit it (Ryan Spilbourghs) and so, a few innings later, I sneaked down to the lower deck behind the vistitors’ dugout and as I was working my way forward I caught the second one. I gave this one away. I felt kind of guilty. I haven’t gotten close since then, although the next day, I caught a promotional frisbee at a minor league game. Interestingly enough, I typically bring a glove to games, but, in this case, I was following Bill Simmons’ guidelines and did not bring a glove.

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  24. pr says:

    My father is a casual baseball fan at best, but the past few years he, my mother and people from work have been traveling to Miller Park to tailgate. Last year we went to the Cubs/Brewers season finale.
    When JJ Hardy hit a foul off of Angel Guzman in the third, it was my 5’5″ dad that came down with it (I’m 5’9″ and everyone else around was taller).

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  25. Jeremy says:

    Believe it or not, I caught two foul balls in the same inning of Saturday night’s Red Sox v Oriole’s game. It happened in the bottom of the 3rd inning. The first was hit by Jacoby Ellsbury, the second by JD Drew. I was sitting 13 rows behind the Oriole’s dugout on the 3rd base side. They were both pop ups into the stands. The first I caught on one bounce, the second deflected to directly off a guy’s arm. What are the odds of that?!?

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  26. Victor says:

    I caught a foul ball at a marlin game 6/2/09 and I was able to see it on the tv since i taped the game! Gave my son the ball and he had the biggest smile. I put it on you tube under ” Victor catches foul ball at Marlins game” . Most people can say they caught a foul ball- but I have video to prove it LOL :)

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  27. kris says:

    This isn’t a foul ball story, but it’s a story nonetheless.

    I was watching the Jays’ relief pitchers during BP one day with my girlfriend. She reached down into her purse just as Jesse Carlson tossed her a ball — She didn’t signal for the ball, he just sorta tossed it to her..

    Either way, I tried to reach over and grab it (with my left hand,) but just missed it. As I was reaching, I tried to warn her, but saying her name only made her lift her head.

    The Ball Smacked her right in the forehead. I felt bad. Carlson Felt Bad. My girlfriend cried. It was group awkward-ness. A 10 year old kid caught the ball as it bounced off her head, just in case you were wondering.

    Carlson actually came over and took a photo with her, which was nice of him but it was just such a weird set of circumstances. If only I could catch with my left hand…

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  28. Andy says:

    The only time I remember a ball coming right at me was a line shot home run off the bat of Matt Williams at a spring training game at the old Royals complex near Davenport. I knew it was coming to me, and I took off my cap to catch it, and it ricocheted off of my thumbnail into someone else’s hands.

    I got a foul ball at a minor league game in Orlando in 1986 a few empty rows back, and amazingly enough, found out my childhood hero Carl Yastrzemski was attending the game to watch his son play. I waited after the game and got him to sign it, but unfortunately all I could get my hands on was a ballpoint pen, and now it’s so faded you can’t see it. I keep wondering if there is a chemical that will bring it back to the forefront.

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  29. Hazel says:

    We went to see the METS play against the Nationals last Saturday in DC. It was my first pro game ever…and I “caught” a foul ball. Okay, so I didn’t really catch the ball. I saw the ball coming straight at me (to my face) so I I twisted my body and covered my head with my arms. The ball hit the back of my seat and just dribbled down near my backpack. When I straightened up, I felt the ball poke my back and grabbed it real quick before someone else from behind reaches for it. My husband could not believe it! He told his family and friends and everybody thinks it’s amazing!!! Apparently, none of them has caught a foul ball…and they have been watching baseball since they were kids I didn’t realize it was that big of a deal… Awesome!!!

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  30. PhDBrian says:

    I have two foul balls and a bounced into my car foul ball. One foul ball and the bounced into my car foul ball were both at a spring training games in Clearwater Florida (PHILLIES) in the late 1980s. The other was a legit foul ball off the bat of Luis Vizcaino at the only Shea Stadium game I ever attended in the mid 1990s.

    The bounced into my car ball was a ‘just foul’ out of the stadium homer by an old Phillie (red?) with the last name Chamberlin (all tools awsome arm struck out to much) forget the first name he played RF and had a modest MLB career. But he was very impressive at batting practice. I had left my old Nissan Pickups window open which I usually did in spring living in Florida. The announcers claimed the ball flying out of the stadium bounced into a red pickups window in the parking lot. I was parked on a grass field real close to the park. After the game I went to my truck and there it was. No damage done to the vehicle that I could find. The weird thing is a bunch of kids used to hang out around the stadium and catch balls and sell them to tourists. None thought to open the door to my truck and get the ball.

    The ball at Shea cost me my nachos and Soda. The ball hit above me on the face of the balcony, bounced off the back of the 6 foot 8 inch guy who sat in front of me, then onto ground in front of the empty seat next to me. My Nacho’s and Drink (newly purchased) had just been set on that seat. Some kid came out of nowhere and dove into my nachos getting them and the Soda all over the place. I however barehanded the ball off the first bounce on the floor. I was sitting about three or four rows up from the thirdbasemen. I think it made TV and the diamond vision, but that I do not know for sure because I was grabbing every napkin in my section for awhile. Ushers even came to help us clean up. The ball avoided the cheese and soda somehow, but the rest me did not. My brother in law who went to the game with me was off at the head. He is a good 6 inches taller than me and was sittin in that empty seat. He has never caught a foul ball and been to scores of Mets games many sitting just up from the thirdbasemen.

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  31. d says:

    a guy way up in the stands next to the pressbox at Fenway caught two last @ last nights game. fwiw… I’ve had a few go over my head, none close

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  32. Mike says:

    We are building a website — FoulBallTracker.com — to show the best places to sit in MLB stadiums to catch foul balls. It has heat maps for stadiums. Help out and submit data!

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  33. Glanzer says:

    I’ve been to about 150 games since 1994, mostly at the Metrodome, and have come away with a total of four baseballs.

    1. Had a ball thrown to me by former Oakland pitcher Jim Corsi before a game vs. the Twins in 1996.
    2. Wound up with a home run ball by a White Sox player in a 2003 spring training game, but there were no other fans in the area.
    3. Had former Twin Michael Ryan toss me a foul ball that landed near the on-deck circle at a Twins-Indians game in 2004.
    4. Caught a legitimate foul ball off the bat of Michael Cuddyer in 2006 while sitting down the first base line at the Dome.

    So my odds of walking away with a baseball are about 1:37.

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  34. Tim Kelly says:

    I caught my first one at Wrigley Field on the second (or third, first one was rained out). Andre Dawson hit it long down the left-field line but foul and I caught it with my glove (11 years-old, still acceptable to bring it). The ball was scuffed, three clear lines carved into the ball (probably by fingernails), Mike Scott was pitching that day.

    Caught my second one in late May of this year at the Jake. Teixeira got fisted on a pitch by Ohka and the ball just fluttered right to me. Two-handed this one as I am too old to bring a glove to the games anymore

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  35. Woody says:

    Just spoke to my 14 year old son last night who was at the Orioles game with his Nana. They are on a baseball roadtrip this summer and have been to the Nationals, Phillies, Orioles games. Off tonight to the Yankees and then to Fenway to finish the trip.

    A foul ball landed in my mother-in-laws lap early in the game (deflected off the guy in front of them) and then my son caught not , but 2 more foul balls! He was so excited and I was wondering what the odds of that feat might be…

    Certainly a game he will always remember…

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  36. Davidceisen says:

    I’ve never caught a foul ball, but when I was like 13 my sister got hit in the head with a popped up foul ball at a Phillies game. My mom had taped the game, and Harry Kalas’ reaction was priceless.

    Really should have caught that ball…

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  37. Jonny says:

    There are several other factors to consider as the odds are the desirable outcomes over the undesirable outcomes. You have to compute how many times somebody in the stands caught the ball, to, how many times somebody in the stands did not catch the ball. So you must include times the ball stayed in play. You must also include in your computations how many times you went to the game. If you did not go you have no chance so those numbers must be included in the undesirable. Also you must include your area of seating, such as how many times the ball was hit into your area, as opposed to anywhere else, as logically your not going to catch a ball 100 feet away from you in a crowded stadium. Were you wearing a glove, or seated on an aisle? There are several factors to include and the number gets a lot larger than 1/1000.

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  38. Brian Cardis says:

    I have been wondering also, being I just did this Sunday at the Pirates- Dodgers Game.Top of the 8th the batter was James Loney the Dodgers 1st baseman.

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  39. Tommy Sags says:

    Just caught a homerun ball at the final regular season game in the metrodome. It was awesome. I was just wondering the odds myself when I found your post. Thanks for the fun read.

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  40. Jens says:

    I was wondering off the odds on catching a homerun ball in the old Yankee Stadium. Caught one of Abreu in my first visit to Yankee Stadium.

    Does anyone kow if there are any records kept over homeruns hit in each ball-park over time.

    /Yankee fan in Sweden

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  41. Marissa says:

    I caught two balls in my mouth once.

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  42. cdc says:

    To Marissa: I’d give up the batting practice ball I caught (Mets vs Expos 2000) to see the replay on how you caught those balls.

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  43. Toddro says:

    I caught a home run ball in the Skydome from Jay Gibbons (with the Orioles) off of Vinnie Chaulk. Aisle 107 Row 3 Seat 101. It’s the best souvenir that one can ask for at a ball game. Yeah I like to state the obvious but it’s quite a natural high when you get it. The ball flew towards us – directly at my buddy who promptly ducked and threw his body into the girlfriend of our mutual friend. It hit a seat in the row behind us and lay there for a moment and I scooped it up. Those home run balls can come pretty fast, even when you’re in the outfield.

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  44. Baltimore Bob says:

    I attended my first MLB game in July 1964 at age 14.
    I finally got my 1st ball on my 54th Birthday
    Phillies vs Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin, Florida.
    Then a few years laters got a foul ball off
    the bat of Chris Coste – Phillies catcher.
    Phillies vs Nationals int DC at RFK stadium.
    And I’ve been to almost 500 MLB games.

    It’s not easy but I did witness someone
    getting two balls at one game.

    Baltimore Bob

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  45. Upper box Woodchuck says:

    I’ve actually caught 4 game-used baseballs in my life. All but 1 of them is fairly interesting for various reasons.

    The first was thrown into the Jacobs Field bleachers in 1997 after the Tribe outfielders finished warming up. (interesting because it is the “all-star season” ball with the secondary ASG logo)

    The second was from a massively rain-delayed Frontier League game where I was one of 2 people who didn’t either work for the team or know one of the players who stayed to the end. (the scorer stayed, but the PA announcer and grounds crew – the players handled the tarp – were long gone) (not really interesting outside of the backstory)

    The third was also from a Frontier League game (lightly attended) (this one is interesting in that the team in question couldn’t afford the official FL ball, so they got permission to use the generic model of the ball, so it’s a game-used ball that is not the official ball of the league in which the game was played)

    The third was caught at the Lake County Captains opener this year (this is up there with one of the coolest items I own because it’s from the Caps’ 1st MWL game – they were an SAL team, and going broke on the travel costs of being one, until this year).

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  46. TedWilson says:

    I was a vendor for 5 years and worked approx 325 games. As a fan I attended probably close to 250 more. I have 1 foul ball and 1 HR ball to my credit. It was as a fan.

    I reflected once that even if I was trying to get a foul ball/HR as a vendor, I don’t think I would have gotten a foul ball or HR ball, policy was you were not supposed to take one from a fan. Either way, I don’t think in over 300 games I would have had the chance. I would guess that 75% of the time, I was working in an area where a foul ball/HR ball was a possibility. 25% of the time there was a small chance.

    When I did finally get a foul ball it was as a fan, probably my 200th game. A screaming liner way down the RF line. I had to utilize my baseball skills to even catch it. The very next pitch, another ball, same angle screamed past. Pretty amazing how that works. You should probably consider differences between RH/LH batters and pitchers. Im sure each produce a different foul ball tendency between 1b and 3b side of field.

    My HR ball was in RF, it was hit to a sparse area with little competition. This was at a triple A game.

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  47. Brittany Bartlett says:

    I just posted this on another blog on this website, but found this chain and thought it was more appropriate here.

    I was trying to find a video of last night’s game (July 5th – 2010) of the Mariners vs. the Royals. My husband Dan caught two foul balls in a row – the amazing thing was that it was two pitches in a row! Top of the 8th inning, first batter (Jason Kendall of the Royals) against Mariner’s relief pitcher Brandon League – Fourth pitch was a foul ball down the 3rd base line – Dan reached over the wall (luckily had his glove) and caught it. He gave it to the 6 year old next to us and the kid’s dad started telling him how it’s nice to share… Next pitch (League’s fifth pitch of the inning) came straight at us again and Dan leaned over and caught that one too! I don’t know if the odds are actually 1 in 3,333,333 (as stated on the other blog) – but I know they must be pretty high for him to not only catch two fouls in one game, but two fouls in a row – TWO PITCHES IN A ROW!!

    Good lesson for the kid… “Do unto others” ;-)

    It was so cute – the dan kept telling the kid, “See what happens when you give to other people – good things happen to you!” The rest of the game kid wouldn’t stop trying to share his pop corn and peanuts with Dan!

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    • joser says:

      That’s a great story, and good for your husband and the dad instilling a valuable lesson. Whenever I sit down at a game the first thing I do is look around to see where the nearest little kids are so I’ll know who to give it to if I catch a ball (no adult needs to keep a foul ball). Alas, I’ve never caught one outside of batting practice.

      As an M’s fan I was watching that game on TV and I have a clear memory of that at-bat and actually remember seeing one of those (though I don’t remember which one) so you definitely should dig up the video because your husband is clearly on there. Unless you know somebody who has it recorded, your best bet is to pay for MLB.TV and then view it here. (Whether it is worth paying for MLB.TV just to get this, I can’t say, but at least you’ll be able to watch everything else for the rest of the season). Of course somebody reading this might, ahem, have a copy they could give you but that would constitute “unauthorized rebroadcast or retransmission yadda yadda yadda.”

      Regarding the odds, I have no idea. But I do recall a summer day game a couple of years ago where consecutive line-drive fouls went directly to the same guy sitting in the corner of those seats at Safeco that jut out towards the 3rd base line; more remarkably, Rick Rizzs knew the name of the guy and complemented him for his glove-work.

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      • Brittany Bartlett says:

        yeah, we caught it on the late night re-broadcast and DVR’d it – althought I haven’t figured out how to get it onto a video tape so we don’t have to forever have that DVR ;-)

        It was a fun game and the first time Dan had ever sat in the front section at a game! I do construction management and tend to get tickets from contractors pretty frequently, but Dan’s always busy. He didn’t even want to go last night since we had just been up late for the 4th – but I would have to say that he is pretty happy with his decision now! ;-)

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  48. Lance Martin says:

    My son caught 2 foul balls in one game at Angel Stadium. What’s the odds of that? If he would of caught one more I would of taken him to Las Vegas!
    Also there is a children’s book called the ‘The Foul Ball’ available on Amazon. I highly recommend it.

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  49. Jordan Yanks says:

    I went to the Yankee Game last night vs. the Tigers. I’m 16 so I’m not old enough to be an adult but i’m not young enough to be one of the lucky. I left with 2 balls, one signed by johnny damon, one by phil coke. what i’ve come to notice is that players don’t really aim at one person when they throw balls into the stands. there was a group of 12 year olds and armando galarraga tossed a ball into the stands and i reached out and grabbed it. i got some dirty looks from adults but these kids had 3-4 balls each by now and it got kind of upsetting that they get everything because their dad tips the ballboy. my second ball was legit tough. johnny damon threw a ball into the stands and i jumped over 10 people and caught it. it hurt but it was worth it. i think the cutoff age to go for pregame balls is 17 because you aren’t an adult yet but you are still young enough to be a kid. if you go early to yankee games, they let you go down and try to get a ball. players are friendly so if you want a ball, go for it, you’ll never see the people at the stadium again.

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  50. mudbug says:

    1980′s ESPN “sports oddity” show. right -handed batter yanked a foul ball off the facing between the lower and upper deck, ball ricocheted down toward left field line. Right handed guy turns to his right, sticks up his glove, and snags the ball.

    the NEXT pitch. identical result. almost same spot on facing between decks, and same guy gloved the ball.

    amazing.

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  51. mudbug says:

    got 2 balls in a game in 1985. Candlestick Park on Tiesday, September 3, 1985. 1635 fans in the park that say, as the Giants were horrible (lost 100 games), and thie was a 1pm mid-week start.

    I was sitting 5 rows up from 1st base,(was supposed to be in the nose-bleeds with my $2 ticket. and walked slowly to retrieve a couple balls flared down the right field line. I cold have had more, but lost interest. There was one energetic kid who took a half-dozen home that day.

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  52. Hello People! Just wanted to tell you that I bought tickets to the Usher concert on May 14th. In this site you can find tickets for other dates too. It’s wonderful Usher and his crew performance, this is my second time and I’m still so excited about listening him live! On this page you can see the section where you’re buying the ticket, so it’s very recommended!

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  53. Sully says:

    I was once at a Tulsa Drillers game at their old stadium. Me and my buddy had all theses souviniers. We got thirsty and bought a soda. The vendor asked if I wanted to know how to catch a fly ball. He took my glove and put up in the air as high as he could and told me it was so you could get the ball before anyone else. He pulled a foul ball that was hit on the other side of the field in it and gave it back. It was pretty cool.

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  54. Zack says:

    I was at the Phillies at Marlins game last night and got 3 baseballs. 2 were from batting practice, both were hit by the Phillies, and a Marlins foul ball was hit into the Marlins bullpen and one of the players or coaches tossed it towards us and he was aiming for someone a few rows behind us and the guy behind us dropped it and my brother went over the seats and got it. Sucks the Phillies lost. The only reason was they were tired from scoring 14 runs the night before. Also it was my first MLB game and we sat in section 131 I think and Row 1 seat 2 for me my dad got seat 1 my uncle got seat 3 and my little brother got seat 4.

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  55. Russell says:

    I try to get a ball each game I go to, our else it is a loss in my mind.

    The way to increase you odds of bringing a baseball home are 1000 % higher by one simple tip.

    Arrive very early, usually 2 hours, so you can watch°c both

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  56. R-Man says:

    Ive never legitimately caught a ball, but i do have a awesome souveneir from a game.. I was walking towards Yankee Stadium, my dad and I were going to see a game, and we saw Oscar Gamble outside the stadium. He signed a ball for me and it was pretty cool to meet him. I also met Manny Sanguillen at a Pirates game. Going to the game tommorrow, i hope i catch something.

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  57. Todd says:

    Took me 40 years, but caught, yes bear handed, a bullet line drive from Peter Bourjos of Angels yesterday at Angel Stadium. Life long Angel fan and cool to add that to my sports memorabilia. My daughter has been tossed game balls from ex-Angel Chone Figgins and current 1st base coach Alfredo Griffin. But to say I snagged a line drive up in 1st base club section just makes it so much sweeter! To add to it, I watched the replay of game and Angels announcer commented on fan (me) making a great play in the stands….no face time, but comment is also cool to go with the memory.

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  58. Jonah says:

    Years later… My friend caught two foul balls in one game the other night. We were sitting along the right field line, in prime territory, and he didn’t catch either one on the fly, but still. What are the odds of that? At a sellout SF Giants game? Plus he went to get food a couple times…

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  59. Farcus says:

    I was at a rays game at the trop. me my buddy and his dad. His dad says you guys gunna bring your gloves and he says naw you’ll never catch one. Well I said you never know so I brought mine. Sittin down the 3rd base line gage gross hits a line drive right 2 us and I snaged it right from this guy sitting a row below us haha he just couldn’t belive it

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  60. Matthew says:

    I was at Yankee stadium and I caught a home run hit by mark texeria

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  61. Barry says:

    I have gone to MLB games for more than 40 years and mostly sat high up. Recently, I got to sit about 20 rows behind home plate at a Baltimore Orioles game, and I finally snagged one.
    I caught the ball on the second hop, reaching over several people [I'm tall], including a kid who was maybe nine, in the process. But I have to make it clear I didn’t lean on anyone or push anyone to get it. The kid’s father on the other side actually fell onto the empty seats in front of us reaching for the ball.
    For some reason, some fans around me who didn’t have a good view apparently thought I grabbed the ball from the kid’s hands or something, and they yelled at me to give it to the kid. I looked at the black bruise made by the bat on the ball and wondered if I was going to become like the Packers fan who snatched a shoe thrown by Donald Driver from a kid’s grasp. So I succumbed to the yells and gave it to the kid. It turned out to be the kid’s birthday. But my 12-year-old son was mad at me when I later told him I gave it away. A friend next to me at the game had a good view of what occurred and said I didn’t have to give it.
    I think I did a nice thing, but still, every time I watch a game, I wonder if I will ever get another chance to grab a foul ball.

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    • Jeff Nielsen says:

      I tried to catch one once but it was close to being a catchable ball too. I sort of kind of touched it but didn’t get it. Neither did the outfielder… it ruined my life.

      Yours Truly
      Steve Bartman.

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  62. Aaron says:

    Going to catch Ryan Howard’s ball in June. Know it. Go Phil’s!!

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  63. Joel says:

    This is the best thread on foul ball data and stories on the internet. I have read it more times that I would like to admit, but i am a fan of fan plays what can i say. The author is correct that the odds of getting a foul ball are about 1/1000 as the total stats in 2012 were 80,000/70,000,000 or approx 1 in 1000. A small group of baseball fans have started a site dedicated to the pursuit of the foul ball and home run, and our unique heatmaps show their location with data that is collected using an app that is now available on iOS. check out site (idealseatmlb.com), download the app, and join the idealseat team! thanks fangraphs!!

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  64. Fred G says:

    Last Night April 29, 2013 we had a family pilgramage to Wrigley Field. My brother and I each retrived a foul ball. They bounced and landed near our seats. It was the first time for both of us. It was a long time comming. I’m in my 60′s and my brother is in his 50′s. Pretty Exciting!

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  65. Nats lover says:

    I just went to a nats game and caught a home run and I’m an 11 year old girl athlete. All it takes is a glove.

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  66. Mike says:

    I was wondering what odds were better-getting a foul ball or seeing a no hitter. I’ve been to what seems like 500 games over 30 years. I’ve never caught a foul ball (but I’ve come close 3 times) but I’ve seen 3 no hitters.

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  67. L says:

    Back in 1989, when I was 9 yrs old at an Orioles game, I caught a foul ball at the old Memorial Stadium. Sitting in the mezzanine section on the first base side. Hard line drive I snagged with my glove, hit by Jim Presley of the Mariners (who is now the Orioles hitting coach). A couple weeks ago I took that ball to an O’s game, and got it signed by him…25 years later. He’s a really great guy, too.

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