Houston Astros fan Shaun Dean (above, right) achieved every fan's dream by catching a home run ball from the bat of one of his heroes - and then caught a second in the same game.
The 25-year-old Dean made his
once- twice-in-a-lifetime catches from his position in the stands during Sunday's staggering 18-inning Game 4 between the Astros and the Atlanta Braves.
First he caught Lance Berkman's (above, left) grand slam, then got his hands around Chris Burke's series-winning (not to mention historic) homer - Burke's home run granted Houston a 7-6 victory and ended the longest postseason game in baseball history. Dean admitted, "I never caught one in a game before."
Berkman's eighth-inning homer flew straight at Dean's seat in the second row of the boxes above the left-field wall at Minute Maid Park. "It came right at me," Dean told the Houston Chronicle. "I just reached over and caught it."
His second catch, from Burke, was not as straightforward. Dean said the ball "came more toward my father-in-law, and he just leaned over and I reached down and caught it."
In an admirable gesture, construction worker Dean isn't selling the balls for a ridiculously inflated price on eBay - instead, he's handing them in to a Hall of Fame representative later this week.
In return for his goodwill, the Astros are giving him four box seats for Saturday's game against St. Louis. Dean added:
"It's cool to be able to give them back. It's awesome. Without the home runs, these baseballs would mean nothing. They hit them. I just caught them. I've got no interest in cashing in."