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During the past several seasons, perhaps no player has done more to elevate the Chicago Cubs from “loveable losers” to dominating World Series champions than Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo joined the Cubs in 2012 and has gone on to hit 165 home runs in his first six seasons in Chicago. Playing in the infield opposite 2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant, Rizzo has turned the middle of the Cubbies order into a beast that would thrive in any era. Their crowning moment came in 2016, as the “Bryzzo” combination helped the Cubs reverse a 3-1 deficit to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, snatching the decisive seventh game on Cleveland’s home turf. Rizzo starred during the Cubs drive to the Fall Classic, hitting three homers and knocking in 10 RBI across the final two rounds of the 2016 playoffs.

He carried his momentum into the 2017 playoffs, which the Cubs entered in the unfamiliar territory of prohibitive favorites. Rizzo did not disappoint, launching a home run in the second game of the National League Division Series and driving in a run during the Cubs 9-8 win in the fifth game of the series against the Nationals.

Offered here is the very ball Rizzo hit for a home run in Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park. Rizzo, coming to bat in the second inning, crushed a two-run homer to right field that knocked in Bryant. For several minutes, Rizzo’s home run was up in the air, as Nationals manager Dusty Baker called for a replay review to determine if the (Cubs) fan who caught Rizzo’s homer interfered with the play. Cubs fans across the country let out a sigh of relief after the home run was ruled legal, with the lucky fan earning the sobriquet “The Anti-Steve Bartman”.

Rizzo’s milestone home run was caught by lifelong Cubs fan Sean Thompson, who made the trip to D.C. from his native Virginia. Thompson, repping his Cubbies at the game in a crisp white Kris Bryant home jersey, made a spectacular one-handed catch over the right field railing to grab Rizzo’s homer. Luckily for Thompson and the Cubs, he clearly caught the ball outside of the field of play, avoiding a repeat of 2003 National League Championship Series – a dark moment in Cubs lore. In the aftermath of his catch, Thompson was dubbed “The Anti Steve Bartman” and “The New Nacho Man”, in honor of an earlier viral Cubs' fan. Although Thompson downplayed his spectacular catch, stating in interviews that it was “no big deal”, this was one of the defining moments of the Cubs 2017 playoff run.

This dinger put Rizzo into first place on the Cubs all-time postseason home run list, at that time, with six playoff homers to his name. This puts Rizzo in front of many legendary Cubbies, including Bryant (who at the time had five), Ernie Banks, Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, and more. With Rizzo still only 28 years old, it’s a pretty safe bet that the record will keep falling.

This baseball is an Official 2017 Postseason Robert D. Manfred Jr. baseball. The text on this ball is printed in silver ink, with a silver Rawlings wordmark printed on the panel to the north of the sweet spot and the 2017 Postseason logo printed on the south panel. This ball shows light wear and comes with a Letter of Provenance from Sean Thompson, who caught the ball at Nationals Park.

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