The 2022 Major League Baseball season could see several records fall thanks to the bat of New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge. Here’s a look at the massive figures thrown out for home run balls from Judge before they’re even hit.
What Happened: Judge leads the American League with 60 home runs, which puts him in a select company of those who have reached the level in the history of the sport. Judge is also significantly ahead of the 37 home runs and 42 that rank second in the American League and MLB, respectively.
Judge is one home run away from tying the American League home run single-season record of 61 hit by Roger Maris, also a Yankees legend.
While the record of Maris was broken several times, some believe the previous records are tainted due to Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds all having been linked to steroid use while they played the game of baseball.
Judge could set a record that is asterisk free, set the American League record and also do so as a member of the Yankees, one of the most popular sports teams in the country.
The Yankees slugger is also nearing a triple crown with the lead in home runs, RBIs and a tie for batting average among American League players. The last triple crown in baseball happened by Miguel Cabrera in 2012, breaking a streak of no triple crown winners since 1967.
What Are Home Run Balls Worth: The potential records from Judge could lead to a surge in the valuation for several home run balls hit before the end of the season. Ticket prices for Yankees games have seen a surge in value for outfield seats as a result.
The fan who caught the 60th home run ball from Judge opted to give the ball back to the Yankees hitter in exchange for signed baseballs, a bat and a picture.
Whoever catches the 61st, 62nd and final home run ball of the season from Judge will likely have important decisions to make in terms of what to do and who to sell or give the ball to.
Action Network reporter and sports memorabilia expert Darren Rovell recently wrote about the potential value of Judge’s home run balls.
The 70th home run ball, a previous record, hit by McGwire sold for $3 million. The ball is now valued at $250,000 to $400,000 according to experts. The drop in valuation comes as McGwire’s legacy has been tarnished to some and Bonds passed the 70 home run figure years later.
Bonds saw his 756th career home run ball sell for $752,467 previously. The home run broke the all-time record for home runs in a career that was held by Hank Aaron for many years. Bonds' final home run ball, 762, sold for $376,612 in 2008 and again later sold for $282,900 in 2019.
The record-setting 73rd home run ball from Bonds, a single-season record, sold for $517,000 in 2003.
Public.com is offering $1 million for the final home run ball hit by Judge this season. Public said it will acquire the ball and make it available as an investment for its customers. Public acquired alternative asset investment platform Otis earlier this year.
“So, ahead of the official launch of alternative assets on Public.com (coming soon), we’re making a play for Judge’s record-setting home run ball and are offering the lucky fan who catches it $1 million for the asset,” Public.com said.
Memory Lane Inc, a vintage memorabilia company, is offering $2 million for the 62nd home run ball hit by Judge, assuming he reaches the milestone.
Rick Probstein is offering bounties on several Judge home run balls to finish the season. Probstein is offering $100,000 for home run number 61, $200,000 for home run number 62 and $250,000 for the final home run ball hit by Judge for the season. Probstein is a seller on eBay and a lifelong Yankees fan, who said he would keep the Judge balls for his own collection.
Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions has put the estimate for the 62nd home run and final home run ball by Judge in the 2022 season at valuations of $500,000 each.
Other collectors and experts have put record-breaking balls in the millions of dollars range.
Rovell has argued that whoever catches the 61st and 62nd home run balls should make a better deal with the Yankees if they wish to give the ball back to Judge. Rovell offers a guide of what to do if you are lucky enough to catch a Judge home run ball.
Sportsbooks Offering Judge Promotions: Sports bettors have been flocking to bet on the Yankees slugger with the bets placed on Judge hitting a home run sometimes topping the overall number of bets on the Yankees.
DraftKings Inc DKNG is offering a 61% profit boost on Judge to hit a home run on Monday, Sept. 26. The boost takes the existing +170 payout to +273 if Judge hits a home run.
Another popular bet is Judge winning the triple crown with yes paying at odds of -125 and no paying +100.
Judge has all but locked up the American League MVP award for the 2022 season with FanDuel, a unit of Flutter Entertainment PDYPY, paying out at odds of -20,000. This means a bettor would have to wager $2 to get a penny in profit on their bet.
Betting platforms will likely offer more incentives as Judge hits number 61 to boost interest in MLB betting.
Photo: Conor P. Fitzgerald via Shutterstock
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