By now, most readers have heard the remarkable story of Christian Lopez, the 23-year-old Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter’s record-setting home run ball a week ago. It was Jeter’s 3,000th career hit — the most ever for a Yankee. That’s more hits than Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, or DiMaggio.
Lopez could have sold the ball for perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead, he chose to simply give it back to Jeter freely. Grateful for his generosity, the Yankees showered Lopez with about $75,000 worth of premium season tickets and autographed memorabilia.
It’s a touching story, made all the more remarkable when you consider Lopez’s humble economic circumstances. He works as a clerk in a Verizon store in Middletown, N.Y. And selling that ball could have made a big difference for him financially.
But there’s one aspect of this story that isn’t all that touching. In fact, I find it downright troubling. Prior to landing his current job, Lopez managed to accumulate a massive amount of educational debt. Just how much debt did Mr. Lopez accumulate on the way to becoming a retail clerk, you might ask?
More than $100,000, according to the New York Times!