Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

July 5, 2012

Big league bang

9-year-old makes memorable Yankee Stadium catch

For one day, Tanner O'Sullivan was not simply one of 50,291 fans at new Yankee Stadium.

On May 18, the Andover 9-year-old was the talk of the Bronx after turning in, with a little help from his dad, one of the most memorable catches to date at the four-year-old ballpark.

"When we were leaving the stadium," said dad Mark O'Sullivan, "people were yelling to us 'Great catch!' When we were on the subway people were coming over to us and telling Tanner what a great catch it was."

In New York to see his uncle, Cincinnati Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan of Andover, play the Yankees, Tanner made a highlight-reel catch of a foul ball that not only drew cheers from fans, but ended up on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 plays of the day and has more than 200,000 views on YouTube.

"It was really exciting," Tanner said. "It was a lot of fun."

From the time Hanigan first made the major leagues in 2007 the O'Sullivan family, all lifetime Andover residents, began traveling to see him play in the big leagues. So, a rare Interleague series against the Yankees was a sure-fire trip.

But when they were about to leave for the game, Tanner very nearly didn't bring his trusty old glove.

"Tanner has had the same glove since he was 2-years-old," said mother Hayley O'Sullivan, Ryan's sister. "We have left it places and had to go back. So when we got to the hotel in New York, I told Tanner, 'Why don't we leave the glove here.' I guess it was a good thing we didn't."

Seated up in the family section in the second deck down the third base line, the O'Sullivan family had already seen one foul ball come their way, so Mark began making a plan.

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