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

aaron judge home run ball
Bailey Orr/Getty Images
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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, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.