There are many photos that captured the scene just seconds after Royals pitcher Wade Davis struck out the Mets’ Wilmer Flores in the 12th inning of Game 5 of last year’s World Series.
That strikeout clinched the World Series championship for the Royals, and Davis, first baseman Eric Hosmer and others threw their gloves into the air and prepared to celebrate.
One player who kept his glove on: catcher Drew Butera.
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He squeezed the final pitch of the World Series championship and immediately realized he held a piece of history.
“They came and authenticated it, MLB did, and they gave it back to me,” Butera said Friday at FanFest. “I knew I had it and I knew that if I wanted to keep it or if the Royals wanted it, I had to hold on to it for that reason.”
The Royals and Mets played 53 innings of baseball, and Butera’s only appearance came in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 5. You may recall that Salvador Perez was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the inning and the Royals scored five times.
Butera kept the ball safe during the celebratory scrum at Citi Field, and he took it home where he put it in a safe. When friends or family would visit, he’d talk about the ball and even show people if the group was small enough.
There are plans for Butera to give the ball back to the Royals during FanFest on Saturday. But he initially planned to keep it. (UPDATE: Butera did give the ball to the Royals on Saturday)
“For the first couple of weeks, I was excited,” Butera said. “I was like, it’s mine, I can show my grandkids. I was thinking about it and it wasn’t me singularly winning the World Series, it was a group of guys that came together. It was a town that stood behind us for 162 games.
“It belongs to Kansas City. It belongs to our team and I donated it back to the Royals and they’re going to put it in the Hall of Fame.”