Aaron Judge’s record-setting home run ball up for auction

aaron judge home run ball
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NEW YORK — The ball New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit for his American League-record 62nd home run has gone up for auction.

Cory Youmans, who caught the ball, sold its rights to the auction house Goldin, whose founder says it will “almost certainly” bring in the highest price ever paid for a baseball.

The opening bid for the ball is $1 million.

“Unlike bats or jerseys which players and teams technically own, a home run ball is the immediate property of whatever fan catches it,” founder Ken Goldin said in a statement. “In this case, this particular ball was basically a winning Powerball ticket.”

On a conference call with reporters Thursday night after winning the AL MVP award, Judge was told Youmans turned down $3 million for the ball.

“That’s a lot of money. But I guess he’s got a better plan or thinks he can get some more,” Judge said. “He caught the ball, he’s the one that made the play out there in left field, so it’s his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he’s making the right decision for him and his family.”

Judge said he won’t be bidding on the keepsake.

“I haven’t signed my free agent deal yet, so I think that’s a little out of my price range right now,” he joked.

Judge’s homer Oct. 4 against the Texas Rangers surpassed the AL record set by another Yankee, Roger Maris, in 1961.

The historic souvenir came sailing into the front row of section 31 in left field at Globe Life Field, a drive Judge hit to lead off the second game of a doubleheader. Youmans snared it on the fly with his glove.

Asked at the time what he planned to do with the ball, Youmans said, “Good question. I haven’t thought about it.”

Judge, who has played for the Yankees his entire career, is currently a free agent.

He was also honored last week with one of the Hank Aaron Awards given to the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.

Bidding on the ball opens Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 17.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.