BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- A Blue Springs man walked into Kauffman Stadium Friday as normal person but left as a well-known face to Kansas City and the baseball community.
19-year-old Caleb Humphreys was on the mound at Kauffman Stadium once in high school as a pitcher, with dreams of one day playing for the Royals. He never could have dreamed the role he would play in them advancing to the World Series.
He was at his Blue Springs home Monday re-living the moment as he watched Mike Moustakas send a ball to his glove barely over the left field wall.
“It’s coming, it’s coming, bam everyone around me shaking me an awesome feeling,” Humphreys said.
But in just a matter of seconds, Humphreys' feelings of jubilation changed to panic, as umpires began to review his catch, and whether or not he reached over the fence to catch the solo home run.
“That actually didn’t occur to me until after the actual replay, I was like, 'Oh man was I actually that close, where was I at?'” he said.
The play was ruled a home run, and the Royals of course would go on to win the game and the pennant.
“One-run ball game! It’s kind of mind-blowing to think this one sent us to the World Series for the second consecutive season,” Humphreys said.
It’s turned the 19-year-old gas station attendant into an instant celebrity, perhaps even a folk hero.
His face, beard, and the iconic moment have now even been carved into a jack-o’-lantern.
“Who walks into a Royals game and the next thing you know has their face on a pumpkin? You can’t describe it,” he said.
He says he’s got plenty of jabs from Blue Jays fans who think Humphreys should have become the next Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan responsible for hurting his team in his efforts to catch the ball.
But after watching the play back a few times, he’s confident in his assertion at the time, he caught the ball once it made the stands. Now he’s ready to root on the Royals in the World Series from his couch, with that lucky ball on the mantle.
“If Mike wants it back he can have it, it’s understandable," Humphreys said. "He can have it. It’s a big situation, but right now it’s going to be a trophy and maybe pass it down to a future Humphreys.”