The fan caught the ball, but he potentially dropped the bag. Michael Kessler, 20, caught Aaron Judge’s 60th home run ball on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Shortly after the Yankees‘ wild 9-8 comeback win over the Pirates, he gave the ball back to Judge rather than keep it for himself or sell it.
“I gave it back to Aaron,” Kessler told the New York Post. “It bounced off someone’s hand. I reached and grabbed it and just bear-hugged it. I just smothered it. It got off to the side. It was a mad pile.”
Just moments after Kessler secured the home run ball, Yankee Stadium security staff quickly approached him. That was when Kessler decided that he wanted to return the ball to Judge. In exchange for the ball, Kessler received other signed baseballs from Judge and a signed bat from the Yankees slugger. In addition, Judge also took a solo photo with Kessler along with a group photo of him with his friends.
Judge’s 60th home run tied Babe Ruth’s mark, which was set in 1927. Now the Yankees outfielder is just one home run from tying Roger Maris for the American League single-season home run record.
How much money did Kessler potentially turn down by giving Judge the ball back? Well, the 60th home run ball could be worth anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000, according to David Kohler of SCP Auctions. Kohler told TMZ he believes that Judge’s 61st home run ball could be worth between $200,000 and $250,000 while a potential 62nd home run ball could be worth over $500,000.
For whatever ends up being Judge’s final home run of the 2022 season, Kohler believes that it could fetch $1 million.