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Illinois Radiologist Becomes World Series Hero

November 3, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics
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Thanks to baseball, Dave Huyette, MD, is America’s most famous radiologist.

Last Thursday, at the end of one of the greatest World Series baseball games ever played, Dr. Huyette grabbed the ball that was hit for the game-winning home run. Instead of selling it for tens, or possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars, he returned the ball to the St. Louis Cardinals player who had hit it, third baseman David Freese. The act of generosity generated a flurry of positive media coverage.

In exchange, Dr. Huyette received one of Freese’s bats (autographed), a baseball signed by the entire Cardinals team, a photo of himself with Freese, and a chance to hang out in the clubhouse with the Cardinals after the game. An auto-parts company later gave him tickets for the next day’s game, which the Cardinals won, 6-2, to take the World Series title.

Dr. Huyette told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:

It’s an honorable thing to do, and it’s a part of history. I’m not looking to create any kind of bidding war. I’m not in such need of the money where I want to do it.

The 39-year-old doctor and his buddy Jeremy Reiland had spent nearly $1,100 for tickets to the game from ticket reseller StubHub. Their seats were in right center field, next to a grassy slope called the “batter’s eye.” It was Dr. Huyette’s first World Series game, and it turned out to be a classic. (Full disclosure: This writer has been a St. Louis Cardinals fan since 1967.)

The Cardinals had to beat the Texas Rangers in both Thursday’s game six and the next night’s game seven in order to take the championship.

In game six, the Rangers repeatedly took the lead, and the Cardinals repeatedly fought back. The Rangers led 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Cardinals down to their last strike. Freese tripled home two runs to tie the game and force extra innings. In the top of the 10th inning, the Rangers scored two more runs to make it 9-7. The Cardinals, once again down to their last strike, scored twice in the bottom of the inning to tie it again.

In the bottom of the 11th, with the score still 9-9, Freese led off with a home run to the batter’s eye, a few feet from Dr. Huyette’s seat, giving the Cardinals a 10-9 victory. You can see the play on this video; there’s especially good footage of the doctor snagging the ball starting about the 2:32 mark.

Dr. Huyette lives in Maryville, Illinois, less than 20 miles northeast of Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis—Cardinals fan territory. He told the Associated Press that hanging on to the ball in order to sell it would have made him “an enemy in my town.”

Instead, he chose honor, and was rewarded with quite a night.

Related seminar: The Business of Radiology

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