Yankee slugger Aaron Judge is chasing immortality this season, as he is just shy of breaking Roger Maris’ 61 home run record.
Some lucky fan is going to catch that ball, as Judge has 15 games left after Tuesday’s showdown with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will most likely break the record.
The good news for Yankees fans is that Judge will likely hit his record-breaking ball at Yankee Stadium, as the Bronx Bombers face the Pirates for two games, before Boston comes to town for a four-game series. Judge is one home run shy of tying the record after he hit a solo shot in the ninth of Tuesday’s comeback win.
So, how much would the ball sell for? We asked some experts:
“It could be six figures, maybe seven figures, depending on the buyer.”
Warren Heller, the proprietor of Living Legends in Rockville Centre, was optimistic about the price of the ball, saying a lucky fan might become an overnight millionaire if they were lucky enough to catch the ball.
While Judge might want the ball for himself, Heller said that he may allow the fan to keep it.
“He’s such a team guy,” Heller said. “He might just tell the guy, ‘keep it, and make your money.’’“
Meanwhile, another proprietor, from Memory Lane, said the ball would sell for an exuberant price,
“North of 5 million dollars.”
Like most historic balls, Judge’s record-breaking ball will be marked by the MLB with a distinct tag that allows them to know which ball was the actual history-making ball.
When former baseball legend Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run, which put him atop the all-time ranking as he passed Hank Aaron’s vaunted record, the ball sold for $750,000 in 2007 — which, adjusted for inflation, would amount to just over $1 million in today’s dollars.
Bonds’ previous ball, which tied Aaron’s record, sold for $186,750, and the final home run of his career went for $362,000 at auction.
Richard Budnick, of America’s Pastime, a longtime dealership of sports memorabilia, noted that the ball would break the home run record in the American League – as Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, who played during the steroid era, and were themselves accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“Considering the fact that no one has hit 60 home runs,” he said. “It makes a huge difference, It will be the American League record.”
Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants. Judge is unlikely to match that record, but his season is nevertheless historic.
“This is really going to be history,” said Heller of Living Legends. “If someone is out there who really wants it, it will be seven figures.”