Mitch Modell On WFAN: Why I Gave Christian Lopez My ’09 Yankees World Series Ring
NEW YORK (WFAN) – According to Mitch Modell, one good deed deserves another.
The CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods announced on Wednesday that the retailer will donate 5 percent of all Yankees sales over the next week to Christian Lopez, the Yankees superfan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit on Saturday and promptly gave it back.
But that’s not all.
During the announcement, Modell presented Lopez with his 2009 Yankees World Series ring — an item that, if not considered priceless, would be worth many thousands of dollars.
Modell told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Thursday that he was happy to give the memento to Lopez, who has over $100,000 in student loan debt and could face a massive tax bill from the freebies he received in exchange for the No. 3,000 ball.
“I know, my boys are not talking to me,” Modell joked. “Why’d I do it? If you spent two hours like I did with this kid yesterday in my office, and you saw how genuine, how sincere this kid is, it’s unbelievable.”
Modell was originally given the ring for sponsoring the Yankees.
Memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports is joining the cause. He and Modell pledged together to raise at least $50,000 for the 23-year-old fan. In addition to the ring and the generous donation, Lopez, who will even have his own Topps baseball card produced this year, also received a lifetime 20-percent off discount card to Modell’s.
“It’s just unbelievable how all he was interested in was, ‘How do I take care of the team? How do I take care of history? How do I take care of Derek?'” Modell said.
But does the sporting goods mogul have any regrets about giving up the ring?
“Absolutely not,” Modell said. “I want him to wear it in the best of health. What he did for New York, putting himself first, it really, if you think about it, is an unbelievable story.”
We’ll ask it again: keeping in mind the tax burden and the recent pledges by Modell & co., would you have given back the ball? Sound off in the comments below…