Judge’s 62nd home run ball sells for $1.5 million at auction

judge home run ball
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RUNNEMEDE, N.J. — The ball New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit for his American League-record 62nd home run has sold for $1.5 million at auction.

The price is the second highest paid for a baseball auction, according to Goldin Executive Chairman and Founder Ken Goldin. He identified the buyer as a prominent Midwestern businessman and collector.

Bidding on the ball opened on Nov. 29 and ended Saturday. The minimum opening bid was set at $1 million.

The home run ball was consigned to Goldin in November by Cory Youmans. He was sitting in the front row of section 31 in left field at Globe Life Field on Oct. 4 when Judge led off the second game of a doubleheader between the Yankees and Rangers and connected. Youmans snared the drive on the fly with his glove.

“That’s the magic of sports – this ball didn’t only change Aaron’s life, it changed the life of the fan who was in the stadium that night, too,” Goldin said in a statement. “We’re so proud to have been trusted by Cory to present this piece of history for public auction.”

Youmans identified the buyer only by his first name.

“Congratulations to Joe! Given the historical significance of (hash)62, it was important to me that the selling process was fair, accessible and transparent,” Youmans said in a statement. “Joe seems like a great man and the perfect steward for this special piece of MLB history.”

Roger Maris, a former Yankee, set the old record of 61 in 1961.

The highest price paid at auction for a baseball is $3 million. It was for one hit by Mark McGwire on Sept. 27, 1998, to reach 70 for the season. Comic book creator and artist Todd McFarlane bought the ball.

After completing one of the greatest seasons and winning the AL MVP, Judge agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract with the Yankees.

Judge said in a conference call before the auction that he was not going to bid on the ball.

“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,” Judge said of Youmans. “Hopefully he’s making the right decision for him and his family.”

Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin agree to 2-year, $6.65M contract

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LOS ANGELES — All-Star pitcher Tony Gonsolin and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a two-year, $6.65 million contract that avoided an arbitration hearing.

Gonsolin gets $3.25 million this year and $3.4 million in 2024.

His salary in the second season can escalate by up to $3 million based on a points system in which he will be credited one point for each start, or each relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings: $500,000 apiece for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. The 2024 salary also would increase by $1,125,000 for winning a Cy Young Award this year, $625,000 for finishing second or third in the voting and $500,000 for finishing fourth or fifth.

The sides exchanged salary proposals on Jan. 13, with Gonsolin seeking a raise from $720,000 last season to $3.4 million this year, while the Dodgers offered $3 million.

The 28-year-old right-hander was 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 24 starts during a breakout season last year. Gonsolin earned his first All-Star selection with an 11-0 record and a 2.02 ERA in the first half. He finished with the highest winning percentage (.941) in franchise history.

Gonsolin has been with the Dodgers for parts of four seasons since being drafted in the ninth round out of Saint Mary’s College in 2016. He is 26-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 59 career games.

He helped the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series during the pandemic-shortened season.