As a baseball fan, Dave Baron of Palm Springs, California, understood the impact of the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hitting a record-breaking 62nd home run on October 4th. What Baron didn’t anticipate was being in the thick of what’s going to happen with the baseball, which could fetch $4 million at auction.
Baron is a partner in the law firm of Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney in Palm Springs, approximately 1,300 miles from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. There, Judge hit his 62nd home run in the second game of a double header against the Texas Rangers. Baron had no connection with Judge, the Yankees, or the Rangers until he received a call.
“I got a call from an old college buddy. He said Judge hit the home run and I said yeah I saw it, it was a beautiful moment, I was happy for Judge,” Baron said. “But he kept talking about the home run and I said, ‘Hey, we’re San Francisco Giants fans, why are you so excited about the Yankees?’
“And he said you don’t understand. Cory caught the ball. Cory caught the ball,” Baron said.
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Cory is Cory Youmans, who sat in the left field seats at Globe Field and caught Judge’s home run ball. Youmans is also the son-in-law of Baron’s old college friend. Even as he was being led away by ballpark security so the ball could be authenticated, Youmans and his father-in-law considered reaching out to an attorney for help.
“I asked him where the ball is,” Baron said. “He said, ‘I have it in my pocket.’ I said you have to secure that ball.”
It didn’t take long for word to spread that Baron was handling Youmans and the Judge’s home run ball, and it didn’t take long for Baron to start receiving calls.
“We already have an offer for $2 million,” Baron said from his summer home in Castle Rock, Colorado. “I’ve been contacted by most of the major auction houses that deal with things like this, sports memorabilia.”
Auction houses that have approached Baron include those handling home run balls from Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and the sale of a collection of basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career items.
Sale could come soon
Baron said the idea is to sell the ball and do it relatively quickly. Even though 62 homers isn’t the all-time record for homers in a season — that’s 73 for Barry Bonds — and even though McGwire and Sosa have hit more homers in a season, Judge’s 62 is both a New York Yankees and American League record, and that should bring a high price, Baron said.
Bonds, McGwire and Sosa are also tainted by baseball’s so-called steroid era, leading some to say that Judge’s 62 homers is the legitimate single-season record.
“They don’t like to name a price, but the auction houses told me they would expect it to sell for well over $3 million,” Baron said.
Sports memorabilia prices can vary widely depending on the backstory of the item and the current market for such items. McGwire’s 70th home run ball from 1998 sold for just over $3 million at the time, but is now considered less valuable as Bonds eventually broke that record with 73 home runs. But the Bonds’ 73rd home run sold for just $450,000 in 2003.
A 2019 sale of Abdul-Jabbar’s memorabilia, including championship rings, most prized player trophies and basketballs, sold for $3 million and raised funds for his Skyhook Foundation, which sends financially disadvantaged youth to summer camps to learn science and technology.
The sale of the judge’s ball could happen in the next few weeks, although Baron said the auction houses would be happy to have a sale completed by the end of the year. But the idea is definitely to sell the ball, not keep it.
“They’re a young couple and that would mean a lot to them,” Baron said. “He’s a young man, 31, and he works in this small office of an investment firm. So the money would mean something to them.”
Baron said Youmans would be interested in selling the ball to someone who could induct the ball into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY
“The guy who owns Fanatics (a manufacturer and retailer of official athletic apparel, including for Major League Baseball) has already said he would give it to the Hall of Fame or maybe loan it,” Baron said.
Follow Larry Bohannan on Facebook or Twitter at @larry_bohannan.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Sale of Aaron Judge’s 62nd Home Run Ball Led by a California Attorney