Abreu thanks Hendriks for fighting for 200th homer ball originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
José Abreu has Liam Hendriks to thank for an important memento.
Abreu hit his 200th major league home run in Tuesday night's White Sox win over the Seattle Mariners, a grand slam at that. He became just the fifth player to hit 200 homers in a White Sox uniform, joining Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk, franchise legends the lot of them. Three of the four are Hall of Famers.
But what happened to the ball?
Abreu still hadn't seen it yet when he sat down to talk to the media following the game, but he was optimistic the White Sox were able to get it back from the fan who wound up with it at T-Mobile Park — thanks to the efforts of the team's new All-Star closer.
"Well, I have to thank Hendriks because he was a big part (of getting) the baseball," Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo after the game. "He was fighting in the bullpen with the guy who caught the ball. He didn’t get it in that moment, but when I got to the clubhouse after the game, the (clubhouse attendant) told me we got the baseball.
"I don’t have it yet. I haven’t seen the baseball yet. But I think we got it. I’m going to appreciate that."
The ball landed in the upper deck, so Hendriks must've been doing some shouting, something he's proven adept at considering all the screaming he does on the mound. With limited capacity at the stadium, though, it might not have been too difficult to have a conversation between the bullpen and where the fan was sitting.
While tracking down milestone baseballs like that is commonplace, Hendriks fighting for his new teammate to be able to commemorate the moment is another example of how highly the White Sox think of their team leader — not that you need to dig too deep for those.
"He’s as good an asset as any team has," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Abreu after the game. "Take the other 29 teams, and you take their top leader types, he’s tied with them. He’s really, really special."