Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giants fan who returned Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run ball gets World Series tickets (PHOTO)

Imagine being a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan and holding a piece of team history in your hands — and giving it up. Willingly.

That's what Frank Burke did — after catching Travis Ishikawa's dramatic Game 5 NLCS Series walk-off home run ball (video at bottom) that gave the Giants the pennant and sent them to the World Series last Thursday — when he returned the prized souvenir to the San Francisco hero. 

Burke, an auto repair shop owner from nearby Oakdale, said he knew how important the ball was to Ishikawa and wanted him to have it back.

"I believe in karma," he said. "I didn't hit that ball ....if anybody's going to have that ball in their game room or trophy case, it's going to be the guy who hit it."

Burke said he hadn't planned on keeping the ball. He keeps home run balls from his high school days in his own trophy case.

"They're still important to me, they're part of my memories," he said. "So why would I think that he (Ishikawa) wouldn't want the same thing?"

So after having the ball authenticated by a Giants official, and being told that Ishikawa wanted it back, Burke went down from his right field seat to the clubhouse and handed it over.

Ishikawa shook hands, thanked him, and gave him a signed bat in return.

Burke said Giants officials asked him what he would like and he suggested World Series tickets but was told that was unlikely.

After doing a media interview the next morning, however, he got a call from the Giants. Burke now has four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series against the Royals at AT&T Park on Friday night.

Burke plans on taking his friend, Greg Leutza, who is battling cancer and said the ball and the bat weren't the things he treasured most.

"Just the memory for me and my buddy, that's priceless," he said. "That meant more to me than anything else will."

Sounds like a true friend — and fan.

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