Classy Fan Praised for Returning 3000th Ball to Derek Jeter

INSIDE EDITION talks to the lucky fan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit and gave it back to Jeter instead of cashing it in for big bucks on the auction block.

With one swing of the bat, a 23-year-old fan's life changed forever.

Christian Lopez still can't believe he's the lucky guy who caught Yankee superstar Derek Jeter's 3000th hit.

"Never in a million years did I think this would happen to me," Lopez told INSIDE EDITION.

But Lopez shocked the rest of the world when he gave the historic ball back to Jeter for free, when experts say it's worth $250,000-$500,000.

Even though Lopez has over $100,000 of student loan debt, he said he'd do the same thing all over again.

"I'm 23 years old. I have time to pay off my student loans. What Derek Jeter did is spectacular," Lopez said.

Now, Lopez is the toast of the town.

"I don't think there's many people, not only in New York, but in the United States [like Christian.] I think most people would've looked at the $250,000-$500,000 they could've gotten for selling the baseball," WFAN's Mark Malusis said.

Lopez, a customer service rep for Verizon, lives with his parents in Highland Mills, New York. He and his father were sitting together when Jeter's blast came right at them.

"My dad was the first person that touched the ball in the air," Lopez said, "It hit him in the thumb and dribbled over to me and I just jumped on it."

In the wild scramble, it helped that Lopez is 6'5" and 300 lbs. He also played college football.  

After his 3000th

Nevertheless, the loot is nowhere near worth the half a million dollars that the ball was. But the world's classiest fan couldn't care less.

"I feel like the luckiest guy in the world," Lopez said.