CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Wally Herbert was watching television Wednesday night when his cell phone pinged, signaling he had a new Facebook message.
"I have a 3-year-old son who would like to give you and your family something very special for Christmas," wrote Trey Jones.
"We have the home run ball."
Tears sprang to the grieving father's eyes.
He appealed to the public earlier this week to help locate the home run ball Reds first baseman Joey Votto hit into the stands at the team's Aug. 31 home game.
Minutes after hitting the homer, Votto gave his bat and the jersey off his back to his son, Walter "Superbubz" Herbert, 6.
Just over a month later, Superbubz would succumb to pediatric cancer after touching the community's heart with his brave two-year battle.
His father has been looking for the ball to complete a memorial wall honoring the boy and to enshrine that incredible day at Great American Ball Park for their entire family as they cope with their loss.
"This is Christmas to me," Wally Herbert said Thursday.
"That was the day I saw my kid the most excited. When we took him to the game where he first met Joey, he would not sit down. That kid, through 9 innings, screamed."
Wally Herbert and Jones, who lives in Anderson Township, are scheduled to get together with their families on Dec. 22.
Jones said he wants his 3-year-old-son, Keegan, to turn the ball over. Jones and his son were at the ballpark together back on Aug. 31 when Votto's ball sailed over to them.
"It was his first Reds game ever and Joey Votto hit him a home run ball," Jones said.
Jones said he has been trying to return the ball to the family ever since he saw Votto giving their son his bat and jersey during post-game highlights.
He realized it might have deep meaning for their family.
"He should have had this ball months ago. I sent the Reds two emails and never heard back and then went on vacation," Jones said.
When Superbubz died back on Oct. 6, Jones felt compelled once again to give his family the ball.
"I thought about taking the ball to the visitation and pulling (Wally Herbert) aside. All of a sudden I was watching FOX19 NOW yesterday and I saw where Wally was on a quest for the ball. I was like, 'All right, this is perfect,'" said Jones.
He looked up Superbubz's dad on Facebook Wednesday night and sent him a message.
"It should be his ball more than mine, I'll tell you that," Jones said. "I can't imagine what they are going through right now, especially with the holidays, first Christmas without their son, so any way we can help them out, we will. I kind of feel bad it's taken this long."
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