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Yankees fan returns Aaron Judge’s 60th HR ball, forgoes big payday

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Yankees fan returns HR umpire’s 60th ball by ditching huge salary originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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Aaron Judge hit the 60th home run milestone in the left stands of Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.

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And then chaos reigned in the crowd.

A video posted to social media shows the dog pile that formed when a few fans went to get the prized piece. New York Yankees memorabilia.

The one who came out with the ball was Michael Kessler, a 20-year-old college baseball player from the City College of New York. Kessler, pitcher and outfielder detailed to Brian Hoch of how he came up with the 60th Judge.

“[My three teammates and I] stood in the stands and then went downstairs to bat,” Kessler said. We jumped up and down because I knew it was a home run. He hit the top of the stands and then rebounded towards our section. I just went over to grab him and the bear hugged him.”

Although Kessler was able to get his hands on the historic home run ball, he didn’t keep it for long. That’s because a Yankees fan returned the ball to Judge after New York’s thrilling 9-8 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In return, Kessler and three of his CCNY teammates who were present at the game received a signed ball from the umpire, and Kessler also received a signed bat. The four also posed for pictures with the Yankees star during a meeting at a New York club.

What Kessler got in exchange for the ball doesn’t sound like much, especially considering how much he could sell it for. Action Network’s Darren Rovell conducted a survey some people in the sports memorabilia community spoke of the potential value of the umpire’s 60th home run, and they returned scores that ranged from 50,000 to $500,000 plus.

Yes, Kessler might have decided to sell the memorabilia he got from Judge, but why turn down the big purse that was supposed to come with the home run ball?

“Judge means so much to the organization, especially this year. He’s just incredible. For who he is, he deserves to get the ball back,” Kessler said. “I have no doubts.”

“It really means a lot to me to give it back to him,” Kessler added.

Certainly a stylish transition from one baseball player to another.

The referee is having a great individual season. He is only the sixth player in MLB history to hit at least 60 home runs in a season, and the first to do so since Barry Bonds (73 home runs) and Sammy Sosa (64) in 2001. Maris for Yankee and American League single-season records.

The 30-year-old could also become the 11th player to win the tournament. triple crown since 1920, when the RBI became official statistics. He entered Wednesday’s game leading the AL in homers, RBI (128) and batting average (.316).


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