Fan Who Caught Jeter's 3,000th Hit May Owe IRS Thousands

The tax man may be on the hunt for the super fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit.

Christian Lopez, 23, recovered the prized ball his father fumbled after The Captain hammered it into their section of the stands in the third inning of the Yankees' win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Verizon salesman from Highland Mills, N.Y., gave the ball back to Jeter, whom he called an "icon," and the Yankees lavished a slew of prizes, including luxury box seats for every remaining home game this season and post-season and some signed memorabilia, upon him.  

Now the IRS wants a piece. The prizes Lopez received are estimated to be worth more than $32,000 -- and, like game show contestants, Lopez may have to pay taxes on the gifts and prizes because the IRS considers them income.

Some estimate the IRS will put Lopez on the hook for anywhere between $5,000 and $13,000, reports the Daily News.

If it comes down to that, Lopez says he'll pay the tax man because he's not about to relinquish his seats. The young government major says his family and friends will help him out.

"The IRS has a job to do, so I'm not going to hold it against them, but it would be cool if they helped me out a little on this," Lopez told the News.

The specially marked home run ball Lopez returned to Jeter was estimated to have been worth about $250,000 to $300,000 at auction.

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