The Portland man who caught David Ortiz’s 536th career home run – a shot that tied the Red Sox legend with Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for 17th on the career home run list – says he happily gave it back to Big Papi in exchange for an in-person meeting during Monday night’s game.

“He was great, he was super friendly,” said Rob Jordan, who snatched the ball bare-handed from the edge of a stairwell in the right-field stands after the ball bounced once in the visitors’ bullpen. “We talked about the season a little bit and I kind of fanboy thanked him for all he’s done for the Red Sox over the years.”

Ortiz, 40, has 33 home runs this season, which he says will be his last.

Jordan, an analyst for Hannaford supermarkets, said it was a fluke that he was in that lucky spot.

Rob Jordan holds the ball that David Ortiz hit out of the park Monday night to tie Mickey Mantle for 17th on major league baseball's all-time home run list. He caught the ball after it bounced once in the visitors' bullpen.

Rob Jordan holds the ball that David Ortiz hit out of the park Monday night to tie Mickey Mantle for 17th on major league baseball’s all-time home run list. He caught the ball after it bounced once in the visitors’ bullpen. Courtesy of Rob Jordan

A few days earlier, a friend in Boston with extra tickets had told him to come down for the game. The seats weren’t great (“like, 40th row, top of the bleachers”) so Jordan and his three friends went down in the sixth inning to get a few beers.

But they realized they were about to miss Big Papi’s at-bat and ran up a nearby ramp to see the field.

“Just as we get to the top of the ramp we hear the crack of the bat,” Jordan said Tuesday night. “I saw the ball at its peak and I knew it was coming right toward me so I just positioned myself, and after that one hop (it) went right to my chest. I was able to snag it. So we go bananas. We go nuts.”

They were back in their seats when a team representative arrived, asking for the ball in exchange for some signed baseballs.

“We were asking if we can meet (Ortiz) and they said no, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll hold onto the ball,'” said Jordan, who had never caught a ball at a major league game.

The representative left, but returned a few minutes later to escort them to the Red Sox clubhouse entrance.

“We ended up right in the entranceway of the clubhouse, and around the corner here he comes,” Jordan said. “He had this big smile on his face.”

The four fans spent about five minutes with Ortiz, taking pictures, and Jordan got a signed bat from the slugger.

And although he sneaked a peek online Tuesday to see what the baseball might have brought at auction – about $1,000, he figures – Jordan said he has no regrets about giving back the ball for the time he got outside the clubhouse with Ortiz.

“I don’t think I would have sold it anyway,” Jordan said.

“To have that moment? To share it with three of my best friends? It’s a lot better than some money that will go away at some point.”