When New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge belts his record-tying 61st home run, and then breaks the sacred single-season American League home run record, it will send dealers, collectors and auction houses scrambling to get their hands on the historic baseballs.
Memory Lane Inc. announced that it would immediately pay $2 million for the ball from Judge’s record 62nd home run. Memory Lane President JP Cohen said the auction house has a client interested in buying the ball and loaning it back to the Yankees for display at Yankee Stadium.
“It would not be the all-time season record home run ball or a record-breaking lifetime home run ball, but I’m offering $2 million for Judge’s 62nd HR baseball because of its historic significance for the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball,” Cohen said.
“In 23 years in the sports cards and memorabilia business, Memory Lane has built up a clientele of avid collectors. One of those passionate collectors is ready to acquire Judge’s 62nd home run ball and have us arrange for its display at Yankee Stadium.”
Judge tied Yankees legend Babe Ruth with his 60th home run Tuesday night, putting him in position to match the record 61 home run Roger Maris hit 61 years ago. And with 14 games remaining in the regular season, there’s no telling where the new American League record will end up.
The baseball’s from Judge’s 61st, 62nd and final home run of the season are sure to fetch big dollars on the collectibles market.
Another noted baseball memorabilia collector also has his eye on the historic home run chase.
Todd McFarlane, who bought Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball for $3 million, told The Athletic on Thursday that he is watching the Judge home run chase and is interested in the record-setting balls.
“I’ll probably be sniffing around the edges,” McFarlane, the comic book artist known for creating “Spawn” and a toy empire, told The Athletic.
McFarlane, 61, bought the McGwire ball for $3 million in 1999, the most ever paid for an historic home run ball. According to The Athletic, he has spent about $4 million on home run balls, including other McGwire balls and ones used to hit historic home runs by Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, including Bonds’ record 73rd home run for $500,000.
He's not sure how much the Judge balls will attract, but he definitely sees the value.
“That’s a piece of Americana,” he said.
SCP Auctions has a long history of selling historic home run baseballs and SCP President David Kohler believes all three balls could sell for six figures, with the ball from Judge’s final record home run possibly topping $1 million.
“In today’s thriving sports memorabilia market, these home run baseballs will reach high levels of prices realized as passionate collectors worldwide go after them,” Kohler said.
Kohler estimates the ball from home run No. 61 could sell for $250,000 or more, while the ball from record-breaking No. 62 could top $500,000. The ball from Judge’s final home run of the season, which would establish a new American League record, could reach $1 million, he said.
SCP Auctions sold the ball from Barry Bonds’ record 756th home run for $752,467 in 2007, while the ball from Bonds’ record 762nd home run brought $362,000. The ball from his 755th home run to tie Hank Aaron sold for $186,750.
Last year, SCP sold Bonds’ 500th home run ball for $303,277, while Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run ball went for $97,710.
Earlier this year, SCP sold the ball from Braves slugger Jorge Soler’s memorable home run in Game 6 of the 2021 World Series for $70,745.
The ball from Judge’s 60th home run wound up going back to Judge and the Yankees. College student Michael Kessler, who was sitting in the Yankees bleachers, wound up with the historic ball, but decided to give it up in exchange for a clubhouse meeting with Judge, a bat and some autographs.
Kessler, a freshman at City College of New York and a member of the school baseball team, said he gave the ball back to Judge because he “had given so much to the organization.”
When Albert Pujols hit his 697th career home run last week to surpass Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time list, the couple who retrieved the ball also offered to return it to Pujols, but the Cardinals slugger met the couple and told them to keep the ball.