In transit to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the Texas Rangers at their home field this past weekend, 7-year-old Mary Grace Hartman was saddened to discover she had forgotten her mitt back at home. Unfortunately, the car was already on the road and there was no turning back.
In an attempt to cheer her up, her father, Rob Hartman, reminded her how rare it is to catch a foul ball at a baseball game. “You know how many games I went to as a kid, and I never got a baseball. It never happens!” he explained.
Luckily, however, there was another glove in attendance. Mary Grace’s big brother Joseph had brought his own and was ready catch whatever came his way. But no one could have predicted what happened next.
Just when they least expected it, father Rob was proven entirely wrong. The 12-year-old Little League and travel baseball team veteran caught a foul ball hit by the Rays’ Austin Meadows, and he made it look easy! Yet, it wasn’t just the miracle catch that turned heads.
After Joseph caught the ball, he ran giddily back to his seat where his dad and siblings were waiting. Without hesitation, he immediately handed the ball to his baby sister.
Her reaction? An instant warm embrace.
The Hartmans, no newcomers to spring training and regular season games, have pinched at numerous balls before, but never caught one directly. It’s safe to say this occurrence was nothing other than fate.
After the game, Joseph had the lucky ball autographed by both the Rangers’ and Rays’ team mascots. Mary Grace now has it on display in her bedroom.
While Rob notes that the duo certainly have their fair share of normal sibling fights, it’s beautiful moments like these that bring out their real kindness. According to him, “It was just his instinct. He didn’t even have to think about it.”
Big brother of the year? I think yes. Someone get this kid a medal!
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