Luckiest day of my life


102-2-15: Numbers that I will always remember.

They’re the section, row and seat where I was sitting (and standing)
for my most memorable moments in Astros history — catching the ball
Lance Berkman hit for a grand slam, and catching the ball Chris Burke
hit in the bottom of the 18th inning to end maybe the greatest baseball
game ever.

We watched all 18 innings from our seats, and we were standing more
than sitting. It was a baseball atmosphere like none other I had ever
experienced. The Houston Chronicle
wrote that the roof was closed to make it much louder and more intense,
but you don’t get the full effect until you’re there at the game.

With the Astros trailing, 6-1, in the eighth, we had not given up hope.
We had talked about leaving after the eighth inning if the ‘Stros were
still down by five runs. Then, as many times before in Astros history,
they dug down deep and rallied. With the bases loaded, BerkmanBurkehr hit a
line-drive grand slam into the Crawford Boxes. We were sitting in the
second row. The line drive came in low toward the first row. The fan
sitting in front of me, who had been wearing his rally hat since the
Braves took the lead, stuck out his gloveless hand to catch it. I
reached down and snagged the home run. I was so excited and called my
wife, Brandi, who had seen the home run, but did not know I had caught

Chris Burke’s game-winning home run was momentous. It, like Berkman’s,
was a line drive. It came in higher than Berkman’s and to my right. My
father-in-law ducked out of the way and I snagged it. Everyone around
us was giving high-fives and celebrating. Several people wanted
pictures of the balls. After the game, an usher directed us to members
of Astros staff, who took us down toward the clubhouse. While we didn’t
get to go in the clubhouse due to the celebration, the Astros staff
took my information and promised that they would contact me. It was
still pretty neat being down there near the clubhouse. We got to meet
team broadcaster Jim Deshaies, who I had watched pitch for the ‘Stros
as a kid, and GM Tim Purpura.

I am going to the ballpark on Friday after the Astros return to Houston
from Game 2 in St. Louis, and I’ll meet the team and present the two
baseballs. It’s my understanding that one or both of the balls are
going to Cooperstown. I am happy to be a little part of that and help
the players see that happen.

Click here for the full account.




    Dean is a true Astro teammate. I don’t consider him unselfish but a true baseball fan. Karma! Beat the Cards! Thank you, Dean. The eyes of fans around the world have a greater respect for the Houston Astros. They now see that our fans are the same as our players. We’re the good guys! Beat the Cards!!!
    –A grateful Astros fan


    That short porch in left is what it takes for the Astros to win apparently. The balls you caught should have been caught by the left fielder.


    It was a great game!! I agree that the fans helped will the team to victory and it came down to the simple fact of which team wanted that game. How great a feeling it must have been to catch those baseballs!! I am personally a CUBS fan (Yes, I know I love torture lol).


    Good for you. But then again if you were sitting in a real major league ball park with realistic dimensions, you would have have been watching langerhans camp out under that can of corn, high school bomb. If the cubs get rid of dusty baker and get lou pinella next season, it will take a lot more than some 309 foot home runs in that cracker jack box you like to call a baseball field. GO CUBS


    Even though I’m a Cards fan, I think it’s pretty cool that you had a great day at the ballpark…Should be a fun NLCS!

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.


    Great Catch! Go Stros!!! Also, for those of you knocking Minute Maid’s deminsions, realize that both teams are playing in the same ballpark. Why didn’t the Braves knock one out? They had just as much of an oportunity as Burke. It’s not like the outfield is any bigger when the Stros are out there.


    The Cracker Jack boxes giveth and taketh. I was sitting behind home in Fenway in 1978 when Bucky Dent hit what looked like an outfield pop up (that was a game winning homer). In that same game, Yaz hooked a 290 foot (maybe less) homer around the right field pole. Congrats on your catches. Might be time to buy some lottery tix 😉


    Being a Braves fan I can still appreciate your truly remarkable day. I have yet to see the odds on getting one ball in a MLB game, let alone two, nonetheless, enjoy the moment, what a truly remarkable event!!!!!!!


    Who needs Carlos Beltran when we have Dean?! What a class act move! Good things definitely happen for good people.


    I noticed you catch Both those homers durring the game. I once caught 2 Kirk Gibson homers in one day (15 years ago) But nothing can compare to you memorable 18 in. game. Congrats again- Shawn


    Way to go Dean, your selfless attitude shows how great our astro fans really are. And for yall Cub fans who think the crawford boxes are a joke, Wrigley isnt too hard either, try making the playoffs next year


    I, like you love the game of baseball and have suffered many years of no world series games since I have been a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers for over 20 years now. The love you show for your team is whats right with baseball, I know how it feels to ride the highs and lows that our teams put us through. Youre doing the right thing by giving the balls to the HoF for everyone to see. I have always respected your organization because of class acts like Bagwell, Biggio, Ausums and many more who have struggled in Houston. Congrats on the success of your team and I wish you many more. Long live baseball!



    Keep the balls and hold out for as much money as you can. Let them buy the balls off you to put them in cooperstown. You have the ability to make your life alot better right now. Its not greedy at all. Its taking advantage of your better than lottery luck which happens once in a lifetime. Baseball players make millions a year. They have deep pockets and if it means much to them your willingness to even give up those balls then they will step forward and give you a large sum of money just for that even happening. You deserve it and make sure your decision isnt based off of what people will think of you. They all didnt want to know you before this and now all of a sudden they are all over you. With the money you can get you can give some away as a gift and use other parts of it for school to make a difference in the world. USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. IF YOU DONT YOU WILL BE KICKING YOURSELF LATER.


    Nice to see good things happen to an all around nice guy. Too bad there have to be jerk Cub fans taking crack shots about it. Not all of us are like that. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to catch 2 HRs in one day. What a day it must have been.


    That’s pretty cool Dean. Baseball fans are baseball fans. Astros, Cubs, Redsox, Cardinals or the Phillies. We’re all the same. None are more special than the other. The Astros are playing now because they just played better ball than the Braves. There’s only one series that matters. Playoffs, pennant, wildcard don’t mean anything. Baseball is life.


    oh yeah…..Hey, Carlos Beltran. All them millions the Mets are paying you won’t buy you a world series ring!! You should have stayed in Houston!…..have fun playing golf!


    That was really nice of you for being so unselfish,you seem like a great fan,Best wishes to the Astros and best wishes to you,your wife & adorable son, who im sure are proud.


    Hey Dean,
    Greetings from St. Louis. As a true Baseball fan I can appreciate that the moments you have spent being involved in this piece of Baseball history are worth more than any amount of money. You are a true sportsman, and gentleman. Not only did you do the right thing for the game, but you set an example for your young son who will one day read the stories and see what a real man, and fan he has for a Dad. Obviously I will be pulling for our Cardinals, but I admit a new found respect for the Astros and their fans. Either way it will be a well fought series.


    Dear Dean,
    I just wanted to let you know that your generosity spans the globe. I am writing you from Sardinia, Italy and can just say that sports would be more enjoyable for everybody if there were more people like you at the stadium. Bravo!


    Thank you for being a “true fan”. I am positive that the experience of meeting the players and getting all of that great stuff from them, must be worth ten times the amount you would have gotten from selling the balls. My family and I have 1 year passes to the Hall of Fame and we will think of your great deed, each and every time we go to the Hall and see your gifts.

    John from Syracuse, New York


    Mr. Dean
    As a Astro fan for over 35 years, it gave all Astro fans great pride to know those balls will be in Copperstown because of you.This was truly an unselfish gesture. It’s quite obvious your ” MINDSET OF LIFE” is in the right place. We as parents are proud when our children do ” THE RIGHT THINGS IN LIFE “, as you have done. And for all the negative people, they could all take lessons from a good christian person like yourself. By the way ALL TEAMS PLAY THE SAME FIELD PERIOD. Dean you truly live Tom Landrys’ definition of luck, “Where Preparation Meets Opportunity” as for what you have done is proof. All Astro fans thank you for giving them the respect they deserve….. GOOOOOO STROOOOOOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    To the guy above who said the homers should have been caught by a left fielder:

    Both teams played on the same field and had the same opportunities to drive the ball to the Crawford Boxes. And if your bitter because our park is smaller than yours, consider that your team has equal chance to build a hitter-friendly park. Consider that center field at the Juice Box is deeper than most parks and it evens out. But, in spite of the hitter-friendliness of the park, the reason the Astros won was that their pitching was just better and outlasted the Braves’.


    One more thing. I would not knock a fan of a team such as say, the Braves, Cubs, or Cardinals for having a lucky day just because I didn’t get to stand in their shoes. Good for them. Good for Baseball, the greatest sport in the world. Come on, are some of you incapable of putting yourselves in someone else’s place and being happy for them? We’re all baseball fans, and while the rivalries are fun, let’s not take them too far. This coming from a fan who’s sat through his share of heartbreakers- most of them handed to us by Atlanta.


    During the game, right after Lance Berkman hit that historic second grand slam, I told my daughter (She is more of an Astros fan than I am…), “You know… That ball is an irreplaceable part of history… Who ever caught that ball is going to make a lot of money… It’s ashamed people are so greedy… If I caught it, I’d give it back to Berkman, Kinda like the footballs in the NFL that the players get to keep when they make an historical play with it. Berkman would most likely put it on display at Minute Made park with a plaque so others could see it.” Then after the game winning home run I told her I’d give that one back too. The game/series winning ball ending the longest post-season game in history in both time and number of innings. Wow.

    The one factor that will maintain Burke’s ball’s value after the next post-season game breaks the record for being the longest whatever, is that the same fan caught two historic balls in the same game. Thank you for your unselfishness and true love of the game. You are an outstanding role model for your son, and to baseball fans everywhere. I salute you.


    I hope they take care of you really well for this. You deserve to be given 7 times the balls values as a reward for your gift. You had legal ownership to those balls and even if you kept them it wouldnt have been bad for you. It would have been your right! Im a Red Sox fan but im hoping to see Texas win it all!


    Its people like you that keep this game going! This is the year for the Astros! Thank you again for beng a huge fan!


    Dear Shaun,
    A warm hello from Porto, Portugal! Even though I was born in this city, I grew up in Montreal and followed the Expos when they were still based there. Still, I have been reading with genuine interest about your awesome experiences over the last week or so. And if I have been warming to the Stros as a fan, your truly selfless gesture seems to bear me out. I listened to Game 4 of the NLCS and I felt as if I had been a Stros fan from the very beginning. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to you, Shaun, for being a solid example of what it means to be a fan for the love of the game. The Lord bless you and your family real big, and Go Stros!


    I submitted comments earlier today under Garner – Manager of the Year.

    DITTO to Zack and Ethan for your comments to the negative responses.

    Shaun had the CHOICE to make ANY ******* DECISION HE WANTED so keep your negative comments to yourselves! I could follow up on that but then I’d be just like you, wouldn’t I?

    When I lived in Australia, the fans weren’t even allowed to keep a foul ball, let alone a home run ball. To the reader who said Shaun was “just lucky”. Well, I BELIEVE there is a reason Shaun caught those two balls. I BELIEVE the way the Asros went from 15-30 earlier in the year to the NLCS is a sign. I BELIEVE our 18 inning win (and THE GREATEST MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAME EVER PLAYED) was a sign. I also BELIEVE Pujols out-of-the-park home run was also a sign. (Yes, I give credit where credit is due…the guy is awesome, no secret there.) I think these are all signs that the Astros were meant to take the series back to St. Louis for the Cards LAST game in Busch Stadium before the stadium too, crumbles.

    I BELIEVE in fate and what goes around, comes around. I BELIEVE Shaun’s unselfish act of generosity will be rewarded tenfold.

    And to the person(s)who bashed our “cracker box” ball park and discredits our home runs. BOTH teams have equal opportunities to hit home runs here…or any stadium fo that matter. Let me get this straight. If YOUR team were playing in our park and YOUR team hit the winning home run, you would discredit it? Give me a break!!!!

    So, keep your negative comments to yourselves. EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, including our hearts. Way to go Shaun!!!



    You are the envy of the 50,000 plus that attended the game. Not to mention the millions that watched it and herd it was you that caught both HR’s. I caught a ball at Comerica Park and even though it was 3 years ago I tell the story about once a month. On a much smaller scale I kinda know how you feel. Enjoy this it lasts a life time.

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