ANAHEIM — It was a snow day for Ron and Kristy Ferrante’s three children at their home in Connecticut on Jan. 7, so Ron decided to go to Walmart to buy two boxes of Topps Holiday baseball cards to liven things up and give the kids something to do.
His sons, 12-year-old Joey and 10-year-old Jake, became fans of card collecting thanks to their baseball-loving grandfather, Ralph Santoianni. Joey decided to be nice and took the box that was slightly damaged and let his brother have the other box. But that act of kindness ended up paying off in a big way, as in the last pack of cards that he opened from his box, he pulled a limited-edition autographed Mike Trout card that was one of only 10 created by Topps.
“We were tearing through cards and looking for what was cool and we saw a Max Scherzer card, but then we saw like a thicker card and I started pulling it down,” Joey said. “I saw his helmet and then his face and then the autograph and was so excited and just running around the house in excitement and shock.”
Ron took video of Joey opening the pack and caught his epic reaction to pulling the card on camera and posted it to Twitter. Trout noticed the video and retweeted it, making the video go viral, as it now has nearly a quarter of a million views on Twitter.
“I had posted it to Twitter and put down my phone, but when I looked at it again, my phone was blowing up,” Ron said. “He retweeted it, and it went viral. And he messaged me and asked if we had Instagram so he could put it on his page.”
Trout posted the video on his Instagram, as well as a pic of Joey sleeping with the card. Trout surprised the family even further by sending a direct message to Ron in April asking if his family would be interested in coming out to an Angels game to meet him and spend time down on the field before the game.
The family couldn’t believe the request and accepted it without hesitation, as they try to get to a new ballpark every season. The family came to Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, and Trout met with them before the game, posing for pictures and signing autographs. Joey also wrote Trout a letter in case he was too shocked or star-struck to talk to him, but he found Trout to be down-to-earth and easy to talk with.
“That was awesome,” Joey said. “That was like the best thing ever. It was amazing talking to him.”
But it was a bittersweet moment for the family, as Santoianni died on Friday. He got his grandchildren into card collecting and traveled with the family to ballparks over the years. But he had told them he didn’t want them to miss an opportunity to meet their hero, Trout. It made Joey emotional talking about it, as it was clear how much his grandfather meant to him.
“He told me about his collection, and we started collecting baseball cards a couple years ago,” Joey said. “And we just kept it going, and now we’re here. And he definitely would’ve been here.”