New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run on Wednesday evening to move into a tie with Roger Maris for the Yankees and American League home run records. Barry Bonds holds the Major League Baseball home run record with 73, but Judge is still working on a wildly impressive season. With seven games left on the schedule, Judge can still break Maris’ record and potentially win the Triple Crown.
The secondary story in all this is the value of the ball that was caught. A memorabilia company has offered $2 million to whomever catches No. 62, but No. 61 is valuable in its own right. It would not fetch seven figures, but it would be a rather princely sum.
Well, that’s assuming it was caught by someone who would sell it.
The home run went into the Blue Jays bullpen, where bullpen coach Matt Buschmann and then reliever Zach Britton up with the ball. However, if you watch the video of Judge hitting the home run, you’ll see it bounce off a fan’s glove at the top of the bullpen.
That video doesn’t show a replay, so you can give it a closer look here. A fan named Frankie Lasagna (seriously) came up agonizingly short of catching a heck of a lottery ticket. In reality he was too high up and the ball was hit too hard for him to ever really have a shot without as he described it “a fishing net,” but anybody in that situation would be left shaking their head.
Since the ball went into the bullpen, it’s not surprising that the Blue Jays handed it over to the Yankees for safe-keeping. Multiple Blue Jays were involved in the chain of custody once the ball landed in the bullpen. The Star reported the ball was in the bullpen before it was “given to Zach Britton” who later gave it to bullpen coach Matt Buschmann. However, Buschmann’s wife said it was the reverse based on how Buschmann described it.
Just a reporter doing work here… per my sources…— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) September 29, 2022
Matt Buschmann wasn’t forced to give the ball back but he handed it over to Zack Britton. @Busch26 told me:
“The Judge and Maris family have been flying all over the country. They deserve to have that ball.” #bluejays
This all came after some joking fun from Walsh. She was excited about her husband catching the ball, and then sarcastically not when he gave it up.
Bad news is I’m down here in Florida battling a hurricane, but the good news is I can announce my retirement…. pic.twitter.com/gbhFSgDZBL— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) September 29, 2022
Oh cool. He just handed that back without checking to see if our house is still here? I’d next like to announce our divorce. pic.twitter.com/37HmHIoomS— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) September 29, 2022
All in a day’s work in the bullpen!