It’s a lottery ticket for an outside seat to a New York Yankees game the rest of the season.
What would you do if you were lucky enough to hit it? It’s a question every fan with an eye on Aaron Judge’s home run ball should ponder before taking their seats. Once that home run is hit, decisions become fast and overwhelming.
Judge hit his 60th home run of the historic season on Tuesday. The total tied Babe Ruth’s career high and left him one short of Yankee Roger Marris’ AL record. Judge’s next home run ball — assuming he hits it — ties Mars and commands a small fortune on the collector’s market. 62 as a record breaking number. Each home run hitter then holds the collector’s price for the last long ball of the season, officially establishing the new mark and possibly the highest price he can buy.
Fans handling these balls are faced with several options: 1. Keep it. 2. Sell it. 3. Give it. 4. Give it back to the judge and the Yankees. 5. Negotiating with the umpire and the Yankees.
The pressure right now is pretty strong and leans toward picks No. 4 and 5 — especially for Yankees fans inside Yankee Stadium. A safety could be there to provide an escort — just like Michael Kessler, the fan who wore No. 60 on Tuesday. At that time, it is decision time.
Kessler is a 20-year-old Yankees fan who wore a Yankees jersey on Tuesday. After dealing with security, he and his friends met with the referee after the game. They took pictures with the umpire and all the autographed baseballs came out. Kessler also took home an autographed bat.
But he didn’t go baseball at No. 60. He gave it to the judge.
He explained his decision to reporters before meeting with the Yankees slugger.
“This is history,” Kessler told reporters. “Any way I can give back to Judge, he’s given so much to the organization – just do my part.”
The story continues
For Kassler, it was clearly a great night — one that speaks volumes and certainly more than he expected on Tuesday. Meanwhile, his rebounds are estimated to be in the six figures by many industry experts. Goldin Auctions’ Ken Goldin told Action Network’s Darren Rovell that it is expected to fetch $150,000 on the open market. Brahms Wachter put the price at Sotheby’s at $100,000. David Koehler of SCP Auctions placed a price of $50,000 to $70,000 on the ball.
Is that a fair trade? Is there a moral obligation for a fan in Kessler’s shoes to “just do my part”? The ball’s high-profile value is life-changing money for many 20-year-olds. The low estimate of $50,000 is nothing to sneeze at.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are no charity. They are worth $6 billion. Judge has $36 million plus career earnings and was in position to reject a $213 million contract offer from the Yankees last offseason. After posting one of the best seasons in baseball history, he commands a lot as a free agent.
The Yankees and Judge are in a good position to offer Ball a fair market value — if they choose. But that’s not how these situations play out. Teams offer packages that include memorabilia and season tickets when high-profile balls are involved. The fan who returned Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown gave him a bitcoin worth $63,000 at the time — and much less now. The fan also admitted that he should have held the ball tighter.
Brady said on the “Monday Night Football” broadcast that “Byron lost all of his ability after giving the ball away. He had to catch it to get as much advantage as possible.”
But that doesn’t mean the Yankees and Judge are obligated to give fans fair market value. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. At the same time, the fans aren’t obligated to just give the ball away for some autographed gear and meet and greets. In any other case, an American would legitimately and fairly be expected to stumble upon a six-figure-plus payday. But that’s a dynamic that lives on in conversations between fans, on the airwaves and on social media about Judge’s home run balls.
Meanwhile, stocks are only going to go up. The same industry experts who put a price on No. 60 will command Nos. 61 and 62 and their final home run of the season between $150,000 and $1 million plus. If you’re lucky enough to catch one, it’s best to plan ahead.