Judge’s 62nd HR ball sells at auction for $1.5M

Aaron Judge‘s American League-record-breaking 62nd home run ball sold for $1.5 million with a buyer’s premium on Saturday night via collectibles marketplace Goldin.

While the buyer has chosen to remain anonymous, he said in a statement issued through Goldin the he is, “lucky, blessed … to own a piece of baseball and American history.”

Seller Cory Youmans caught the ball at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, during an Oct. 4 game between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. He turned down a $3 million offer for the ball and elected to put it up for auction.

Some believed the famed ball would challenge the record paid for a baseball, but it fell short of the $3.05 million paid for Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball in 1998 by comic book artist Todd McFarlane. Still Judge’s home run ball is the second-most-expensive baseball ever sold at auction.

“Multiple players have hit more home runs in a season, but in many people’s eyes, Aaron Judge is the true record-holder,” Ken Goldin, the executive chairman and founder of Goldin, told ESPN. “The fact that this is the second-highest total ever paid for a baseball speaks to the respect that fans and collectors have for Aaron. That’s the magic of sports — this ball didn’t only change Aaron’s life, it changed the life of the fan who was in the stadium that night, too. We’re so proud to have been trusted by Cory to present this piece of history for public auction.”

Judge’s home run ball was displayed at the J.P. Morgan Club in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 7, the same day Judge signed a nine-year, $360 million deal to remain with the Yankees. The contract made Judge the most expensive position player in MLB history, with a $40 million average annual value.

Youmans, a vice president at Fisher Investments, previously told ESPN that he hoped the ball would end up with either Judge, the Yankees or in Cooperstown — but that the auction would ultimately decide that.

Judge said in November, prior to signing his massive contract, that he did not plan to bid on the ball.

“I haven’t signed my free agent deal yet,” Judge said at the time. “So I think that’s a little out of my price range right now.”

Judge’s 62nd homer broke the AL record set by former Yankees great Roger Maris in the 1961 season. Only Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70, 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64, 63) are ahead of Judge on MLB’s single-season home run list.

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