While Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols have been chasing history on the field, bidders and collectors are looking to create their own off of it. So, what’s the most expensive baseball of them all?
If Frank Sinatra were an auction bidder, he might say, “It was a very good year.”
As fans anticipate New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge‘s 62nd home run, the potential AL-single season record, auction bidders are lining up their prices for what could be one of the most expensive baseballs … ever. Judge is still tied with Roger Maris at 61 and has two games to set the record.
Assuming Judge hits a dinger and it actually finds the seats this time (looking at you, Frankie Lasagna), the ball could sell for upwards of $1.25 million, Goldin Auctions’ founder, Ken Goldin, told the New York Times. That would be second to only Mark McGwire’s 70th HR in 1998 ($3 million).
Speaking of the St. Louis Cardinals, how about Albert Pujols’ 700th career home-run ball? The fan who caught it says he intends to keep it … for now. Forget the potential millions he could make — he wants the souvenir! But hey, once those bills start kicking, he might just get an offer he cannot refuse.
Time will tell what Pujols’ and Judge’s (potential) record-breaking ball will go for. Until then, Boardroom takes a look at some of the most expensive home run balls ever sold in the history of the game.
Most Expensive Baseballs Ever Sold
1. McGwire, No. 70 in 1998, $3 million
The Cardinals initially offered fan Phil Ozersky a signed bat, ball, and jersey for the baseball. Ozersky only had one counteroffer: Meet McGwire, but the slugger said no. Ozersky kept the ball and sold it for a still-standing record-high.
2. Babe Ruth, All-Star Game HR in 1933, $805,000
This was the first home run ever hit in an MLB All-Star Game. Also, it’s Babe Ruth. Earl Brown caught the ball at Comiskey Park in Chicago and passed it down to his grandson, Chris. After 73 years of holding onto it, Chris Brown sold it at a day-long MLB FanFest in 2006.
3. Barry Bonds, No. 756 in 2007, $752,000
You’d think this one would take the cake after he passed Hank Aaron for the most homers of all-time, but popularity and PED use might’ve hurt his case. Matt Murphy, then-21-year-old construction supervisor from New York, went to the Giants game during a layover on his way to Australia. His $100 ticket turned into quite the return on investment.
4. Hank Aaron, No. 755 in 1976, $650,000
In 2022, this ball would probably top the list, but things were different when it was sold in 1999. Aaron autographed the ball at a collector’s show without any prior knowledge that it was the famous one. The man who caught the ball, Richard Arndt — a former groundskeeper at Milwaukee County Stadium — received $461,700 and donated $155,800 to the Chasing the Dream Foundation after an agreement he made with Hammerin’ Hank.
5. Bonds, No. 73 in 2001, $518,000
Toy maker and creator of the Spawn comic strip, Todd McFarlane, claimed this one in 2003 and also owns McGwire’s No. 70. Why did Bonds’ auction price fall so low? McFarlane explained that Bonds wasn’t nearly as popular as McGwire or Sammy Sosa. McFarlane would know: He owns the No.1, No.5, and No. 10 most-expensive baseballs.
The Rest of the List
6. Bonds, No. 762, $377,000
7. Bonds, No. 500, $303,000
8. Eddie Murray, No. 500, $280,000
9. Bonds, No. 715, $220,000
10. Sammy Sosa, No. 66, $150,000
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