As he walked down a hall in the outfield of Globe Life Field, high-fives with fans and surrounded by a sea of cameras, it was almost as if Cory Youmans had hit a huge home run. Instead, he won the jackpot.
Youmans made the catch of his life on Tuesday-evening, taking the ball that launched New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for his American League-record 62nd homer.
The historic souvenir came sailing into the front row of Section 31 in left field, a drive Judge struck to start the second game of a day-night doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. Youmans immediately caught it.
Youmans, who is from Dallas, works in the financial world. 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 when put up for sale. However, JP Cohen, the president of memorabilia site Memory Lane, has said he would pay $2 million for the ball and borrow it for display at Yankee Stadium. On Wednesday, he said the offer is still on the table.
“I think the offer is way beyond reasonable, if he’s inclined to sell it,” Cohen said in a telephone interview with the AP.
The most expensive home run baseball of all time cost $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 personnel 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, Judge said he didn’t have possession of the home run ball.
“I don’t know where it is,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with that. It would be great to get it back, but that’s a fan souvenir. He made a great catch there and they have every right to do so.”
Shortly after a local TV station posted a short interview with Youmans on a walkway, Bri Amaranthus tweeted, “THIS IS MY HUSBAND.” Amaranthus is a reporter who covers the Dallas Cowboys and once participated in The Bachelor.
Youmans was among the crowd of 38,832, the largest to have seen a baseball game at Globe Life Field in its three-year history.
Many fans at Rangers stadium came dressed in Yankees caps and jerseys. Some came to see Judge making history. Some came just for history. Some have come a long way.
The last two categories include Jimmy Bennicaso of Norwalk, Connecticut, who is a fan of the Yankees’ urban rivals. “I’m actually a Met fan,” Bennicaso said. “Cowboy and Met love a rough combo.”
Bennicaso was home in Connecticut Monday night after watching Judge fail to homer in the first of four games against the Rangers in three days. He got an idea from his girlfriend, what if he went to Texas to personally chase Judge?
“She said, ‘Yeah, go for it,'” he said.
Bennicaso took a morning flight to Texas. Being self-employed in real estate investments helped, he said. Bennicaso placed himself in the lower deck of the right field stands hoping to grab a homer from the opposite field.
Instead, Judge hit a home run that broke Roger Maris’ 1961 AL record. Empty-handed, Bennicaso planned to return home Wednesday morning.
“It was worth it,” he said. “I tried my best.”