Corporations Pledge to Donate to Lopez

Christian Lopez, the 23-year-old cellphone salesman who returned the ball from Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, will be getting his own baseball card, and some help if the tax man sends him a bill.

Topps says it will produce a trading card featuring Lopez that will be included in sets later this year.

Meanwhile, several companies have lined up to help the Highland Mills, N.Y., resident, who could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in taxes on the tickets and memorabilia he received from the Yankees in return for the ball.

Lopez, who corralled the home run ball Saturday at Yankee Stadium, decided to give the baseball to Jeter instead of selling it. The Yankees rewarded him with tickets for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs along with some memorabilia.

Modell's Sporting Goods president and CEO Mitchell Modell announced Wednesday at a rally in Times Square for Lopez that 5 percent of all Yankees merchandise sold in Modell's stores for one week will be donated to help cover the cost of any taxes.

Brandon Steiner, founder and CEO of Steiner Sports, said at the rally that his company will contribute $25,000 to Lopez, who says he owes about $150,000 in outstanding student loans.

"It was spectacular. They came and found me," Lopez told Newsday. "It shows that there are great people in the world."
Lopez's gratitude notwithstanding, he never expected things to go so far.

"No one was thinking about the IRS. It never crossed my mind," Lopez said. "The Yanks gave me the tickets out of excitement and respect for me."

The makers of Miller High Life beer also pledged support to help with Lopez's taxes.


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