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The odds were astronomical. But it didn’t matter.
On July 11, 1999, Diamondbacks infielder Jay Bell made a millionaire out of Chandler resident Gylene Hoyle in what remains today one of the most expensive swings ever taken.
The Diamondbacks paid homage to the anniversary of the event with a video posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Hoyle, then 31, won a radio contest sponsored by Shamrock Farms and was invited to the day’s game between the Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics. She was tasked with picking a Diamondbacks player to hit a home run and to pick the inning in which it would occur.
MORE: Notable moments at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jay Bell (R) is congratulated by third base coach Brian Butterfield after he hit his 22nd homer of the season against the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning 20 June 1999 in Phoenix, AZ. The Braves won 10-4. AFP PHOTO Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP)
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jay Bell (R) is congratulated by third base coach Brian Butterfield after he hit his 22nd homer of the season against the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning 20 June 1999 in Phoenix, AZ. The Braves won 10-4. AFP PHOTO Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP) (Photo: MIKE FIALA, AFP/Getty Images)
Hoyle told The Republic’s Paola Boivin in 2011 that she and her husband, Clayton, were not baseball fans but picked Bell because he was one of the club’s better hitters. They picked the sixth inning randomly.
Hoyle was also there with her nieces and nephews had seats behind the Diamondbacks dugout and Gylene was even introduced to the crowd before the game. Bell, who had been 0 for 12 in the series, was reportedly also aware of the stakes.
But as fate would have it, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the sixth for Bell, who fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before depositing a ball in the left-field seats. The million-dollar swing.
“My career highlight,” Bell told Boivin.
Hoyle and her family were quickly ushered away to sign documents and take care of logistics. She opted for a lump sum instead of installments.
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Hoyle later told Boivin that the family put away the money, invested it and upgraded their house after some time had passed.
“He made life easier for us,” Hoyle said of Bell. “He made it so we have less stress in our lives.”