Todd Eisenlohr
(July 2007)

Sometimes being an ethics hero involves putting idealism before common sense, and this is certainly the case with Todd Eisenlohr, a 24-year-old graphic designer from Pennock, Minn. Last month Todd Eisenlohr had a potentially profitable item drop out of the skies into his possession: the 500th homerun hit by Toronto slugger Frank Thomas. The ball was Thomas’ ticket into the Hall of Fame as well as a guaranteed hot commodity on the baseball memorabilia market. It would probably not fetch millions, as some recent homerun balls have, but certainly thousands of dollars, perhaps even five figures.

Eisenlohr gave the ball back to Thomas fifteen minutes after catching it. In return, the grateful player gave him an autographed jersey, bat and ball. Eisenlohr told reporters that he never gave a thought about selling the ball to Thomas or keeping it to auction off to well-heeled traders in sports history.

“I don’t really care about that. It’s just money,” he said.

Frank Thomas doesn’t care about the ball’s monetary value either. As a long-time star who has been pulling down multi-millions for well over a decade, Thomas already has more money than he could ever spend. The ball, however, is a symbol of his superb career, and to him, priceless.” I’m going to keep it unless the Hall of Fame wants it,” Thomas said.

Many would argue that Eisenlohr was foolish. Thomas would have given him a significant amount in exchange for the ball without blinking, and nobody would have thought less of the fan for doing what so many others have done before him. But to Eisenlohr, it was a simple matter of returning something of value to its rightful owner. He didn’t have to do it. He just thought it was the right thing to do. To him, a Twins fan, the Blue Jays’ star’s homerun ball could only mean some additional money. To Thomas, it was much, much more.

So without any promise of a reward, he gave the ball to the person who deserved it, something no ethical principle says that he had any obligation to do. And that’s what makes Todd Eisenlohr an Ethics Hero.

Comment on this article


Business & Commercial
Sports & Entertainment
Government & Politics
Science & Technology
Professions & Institutions

The Ethics Scoreboard, ProEthics, Ltd., 2707 Westminster Place, Alexandria, VA 22305
Telephone: 703-548-5229    E-mail: ProEthics President

© 2007 Jack Marshall & ProEthics, Ltd     Disclaimers, Permissions & Legal Stuff    Content & Corrections Policy