As he walked through a concourse in the outfield at Globe Life Field, high-fiving with fans and surrounded by a sea of cameras, it was almost as if Cory Youmans had hit a huge home run. Instead, he hits the jackpot.
Youmans made the catch of a lifetime on Tuesday night, snagging the ball New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge launched for his American League-record 62nd homer.
The historic souvenir came sailing into the front row of section 31 in the left field, a drive Judge hit to lead off the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. Youmans snared it on the fly.
Youmans, who is from Dallas, works in finance. Ken Goldin, the executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, told the New York Times he believes Judge’s home-run ball would fetch between $750,000 and $1.25m if put up for sale. However JP Cohen, the president of memorabilia site Memory Lane, has said he would pay $2m for the ball and loan it for display at Yankee Stadium. On Wednesday, he said the offer is still on the table.
“I feel the offer is way above fair, if he is inclined to sell it,” Cohen said in a telephone interview with the AP.
The most expensive home-run baseball of all time went for $3m, including commission, in 1999. It was the ball that Mark McGwire hit for his then-record 70th home run in 1998.
With security personnel around him as he took the ball to be authenticated, Youmans was asked what he planned to do with the prize.
“Good question. I haven’t thought about it,” he said.
After the Yankees lost 3-2, Judge said he didn’t have possession of the home-run ball.
“I don’t know where it’s at,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with that. It would be great to get it back, but that’s a souvenir for a fan. He made a great catch out there, and they’ve got every right to it.”
Soon after a local TV station posted a brief interview with Youmans in a walkway, Bri Amaranthus tweeted: “THIS IS MY HUSBAND.” Amaranthus is a reporter who covers the Dallas Cowboys, and was once a contestant on The Bachelor.
Youmans was among the crowd of 38,832, the largest to watch a baseball game at Globe Life Field in its three-year history.
Many fans in the Rangers’ stadium came clad in Yankees caps and jerseys. Some came to watch Judge make history. Some came just for history. Some traveled a long way.
The latter two categories included Jimmy Bennicaso of Norwalk, Connecticut, who is a fan of the Yankees’ cross-city rivals. “I’m a Met fan, actually,” Bennicaso said. “Cowboy and Met fan have a rough combo.”
Bennicaso was home in Connecticut on Monday night having watched Judge fail to homer in the first of four games against the Rangers in three days. He ran an idea past his girlfriend what if he headed to Texas to take in Judge’s chase in person?
“She said, ‘Yeah, go for it,’” he said.
Bennicaso caught a morning flight to Texas. Being self-employed in real estate investments helped, he said. Bennicaso stationed himself in the lower deck of the right-field stands in hopes of grabbing an opposite-field homer.
Instead, Judge pulled a home run that broke the AL record set by Roger Maris in 1961. Empty-handed, Bennicaso planned to return home on Wednesday morning.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I gave it my best shot.”