Wed Jul 13 06:40pm EDT
This probably isn't what the finished product will look like, exactly — any Joe or Jill off the street can design his or her own baseball card at MyTradingCards.com — but Topps says it will produce a card of Lopez to be included in sets later this year.
Bottomless Yankees tickets. A Jeter meeting and memorabilia. Business leaders demanding to pay his taxes and student loan. A visit to the "Today" show. Soon he'll be a cardboard god. How else will a grateful world reward him?
Lopez might never come down from the high he's been on since Sunday, when he caught Jeter's 3,000th hit — a home run hit into the left-field stands at Yankee Stadium — and returned it to the team's captain with no expectations when he could have auctioned it away for big bucks.
Ever since, folks have been going out of their way to reward Lopez, a 23-year-old mobile phone salesman from Highland Mills, N.Y., who has big bills and, apparently, a giving nature.
Via the Associated Press, Lopez says he hasn't been able to catch his breath:
"It's been overwhelming to be honest with you," he said. "It's been a little crazy. But I'm handling it as best I can. I'm trying to get back to everybody I can."
That includes Topps.
"Yeah, I spoke with them a couple days ago," Lopez said. "All I know, is they kind of want to make a baseball card out of me."
Lopez was an avid collector as a kid. He said he has "probably a couple thousand baseball cards."
His favorite? A Yankees card, of course. It depicts Babe Ruth and one of the Yankees' owners at the time he came over from the Red Sox in 1920.
Also on Tuesday, businesses lined up to help Lopez in the event he needs to pay taxes on the gifts he received from the Yankees.
Memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner and sporting goods CEO Mitch Modell said they will make sure Lopez gets at least $50,000 toward his outstanding student loans of $150,000.
The execs have been impressed with Lopez's selfless attitude in not taking the ball hostage for the highest dollar.
"Can you believe how good a mensch this kid was?" Steiner said.
And can you believe how much it's paying off for Lopez?