The man who caught Aaron Judge’s record-breaking 62nd home run ball was always going to make a pretty penny once he sold his prize. So, it was no surprise when Cory Youmans — the man who caught the ball — received an offer of $3 million for it in November. Fittingly, Youmans declined that offer. Like Judge, Youmans was going to bet on himself.
Well, he lost that bet. Judge’s 62nd home run ball sold for $1.5 million at auction Saturday. The ball is authenticated by MLB and comes with Youmans’ letter of provenance, so it is the real deal.
The ball, Judge and Youmans all made headlines Oct. 4. That was the day Judge hit the record-breaking home run. In the first inning, Judge took a 1-1 slider from Texas Rangers starter Jesus Tinoco over the left-field fence. The home run set a new home run record in the American League. Yankees great Roger Maris held the previous AL record with 61 home runs. Barry Bonds holds the single-season MLB record with 73 home runs.
Judge, who turned down a massive contract extension from the Yankees in spring training, used the record-breaking season to secure a much larger $360 million deal with New York in the offseason. In other words, Judge bet on himself and won.
Fans knew the value of the ball, and were willing to go all out to make millions if they snagged the record-breaking hit. One fan went so far as to leap out of the stands to make the catch as Judge’s ball sailed over the fence. That fan wasn’t successful.
Instead, Youmans made the catch. At the time, he said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the ball. The next day, Youmans reportedly received a $2 million offer for the ball from an auctioneer. Youmans turned it down.
Youmans did have a good reason for holding onto the ball. The record price for a home run ball is $3 million. Someone was willing to pay that much for Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball from the 1998 MLB season. Sports memorabilia prices have exploded in recent years, and Youmans followed the trends and expected Judge’s ball to break that record. It wasn’t a horrible bet to make, it just didn’t work out.
Ultimately, Youmans still made $1.5 million for catching a baseball and that’s a significant upgrade. Sure, he didn’t get the amount he expected, but you can’t really argue he got a bad deal here.