Diamondbacks beekeeper gets Topps card as part of newfound fame

Matt Hilton saved the day for Tuesday's game, also was chosen to throw out first pitch

Cover Image for Diamondbacks beekeeper gets Topps card as part of newfound fame
Beekeeper Matt Hilton removed a swarm of bees from behind home plate, allowing the Dodgers-Diamondbacks to be played Tuesday. (Credit: Getty Images)

Minutes before the start of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game Tuesday night in Phoenix, the managers were alerted there would need to be a delay.

Rain delays are a part of doing business in the MLB, but this wasn’t weather related.

It was the bees.

A huge swarm of them had started buzzing around the netting behind home plate.

Quickly, a call was placed to Blue Sky Pest Control's Phoenix office. Soon, Matt Hilton was on his way from his son’s tee ball game to Chase Field to save the day.

The official Diamondbacks Twitter account posted an update, stating the game would resume “following the successful removal of the beehive by a professional beekeeper.”

Hilton, aka the professional beekeeper, had done hundreds of these types of removals before, but nothing on such a big stage.

“My mind is just kind of racing through all the scenarios of how this could turn bad,” Hilton told cllct. “This is a bee swarm. And these are Africanized honey bees, aka killer bees. And so this situation could turn south real quick.”

But once he arrived on the scene, Hilton said the energy of the crowd washed away any anxiety.

“Any time I would do a fist pump, the crowd would just go crazy. I just kind of ate it up,” Hilton said. “Just like hey, 'I'm gonna have my moment here, and let's just roll with this.'”

Soon, the job was finished, but Hilton’s moment in the spotlight had only just begun.

The Diamondbacks asked him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, a task Hilton felt “unworthy of.” Despite following the sport as a kid and collecting cards in the 1990s with his brothers (Chipper Jones was a favorite), Hilton said he hadn’t been a baseball fan in years and felt the honor should go to someone with more of a connection to the sport.

But his feelings soon shifted. “How can I say no to that? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Hilton said, adding he was “pretty stoked about it.”

Social media went nuts. It was one of those rare internet moments when everyone seemed to agree to just enjoy it while it lasts, allowing a moment of unbridled wholesomeness to wash over us all.

For Hilton, his 30 minutes of fame was quickly given another jolt, as Topps announced a deal to produce cards featuring the sport's most famous beekeeper on a Topps Now product, available beginning on May 1 for 24 hours.

The cards, priced at $8.99 each, included randomly inserted autograph parallels as well as base parallels. As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, the total print run for the card was 16,700.

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct. You can follow him on X at @Will__Stern.