As he walked through 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 big home run. Instead, he hit the jackpot.
Youmans made the catch of a lifetime Tuesday night when he snagged the ball that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge launched for his American League-record 62nd homer.
The historic souvenir came sailing onto the front row of Section 31 in left field, a driven umpire to lead off the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. Youmans caught it in the tick.
Youmans, who is from Dallas, works in finance. Ken Goldin, the executive chairman of Goldin Auctions, told the New York Times that he believes Judge’s home run ball would fetch between $750,000 and $1.25 million if put up for sale. But JP Cohen, the president of memorabilia site Memory Lane, has said he would pay $2 million for the ball and loan it to display at Yankee Stadium. On Wednesday, he said the offer is still on the table.
“I feel like the offer is way more than fair if he’s inclined to sell it,” Cohen said in a telephone interview with the AP.
The most expensive home run baseball ever went for $3 million, including commission, in 1999. It was the ball that Mark McGwire hit for his then-record 70th home run in 1998.
With security around him as he took the ball to be authenticated, Youmans was asked what he intended to do with the prize.
“Good question. I haven’t thought about it,” he said.
After the Yankees lost 3–2, the umpire said he did not have possession of the home run ball.
“I don’t know where it is,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with it. It would be great to get it back, but it’s a souvenir for a fan. He made a big catch out there and they have every right to that.”
Shortly after a local television station posted a brief interview with Youmans in a walkway, Bri Amaranthus tweeted, “THIS IS MY MAN.” 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 see a baseball game at Globe Life Field in its three-year history.
Many fans at the Rangers’ stadium came dressed in Yankees caps and jerseys. Some came to see Judge make history. Some came just for the story. Some traveled far.
The latter two categories included Jimmy Bennicaso of Norwalk, Conn., who is a fan of the Yankees’ cross-town rivals. “I’m actually a Met fan,” Bennicaso said. “Cowboy and Met fan of a rough combo.”
Bennicaso was at home in Connecticut Monday night after watching 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 went to Texas to personally take the judge’s hunt?
“She said, ‘Yeah, go for it,'” he said.
Bennicaso took a morning flight to Texas. Being independent in real estate investing helped, he said. Bennicaso positioned himself in the lower deck of the right-field bleachers, hoping to catch an opposite-field homer.
Instead, Judge hit a home run that broke the AL record set by Roger Maris in 1961. Empty-handed, Bennicaso planned to return home Wednesday morning.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I gave it my best shot.”