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Milestone balls leave fans with a selection: return it or sell?

If Aaron Judge passes Roger Maris, some lucky fan might become this generations Sal Durante.

As a 19-year-old in 1961, Durante caught Maris record-breaking 61st home run. The story of what followed Durante sold the ball for $5,000, also it was returned to Maris within the deal sounds downright quaint by todays standards. But its a reminder that, even six decades ago, fans who caught famous souvenirs faced a tricky choice: keep carefully the ball, sell it, or give it back again to the ball player who hit it?

With Judge now one from tying Maris American League record, anyone who arises with one of is own home run balls could end up getting an identical decision to create.

Id give it back. Not another guess, said Kevin Heathwood, a 35-year-old teacher from Harlem who was simply at Wednesday nights Yankees-Pirates game in NY. It belongs to guage and he earned each and every thing that hes gotten. Just being truly a section of it, thats enough for me personally.

Many fans share Heathwoods view, feeling that when Judge wants the ball back, it wouldnt be right for the fan to help keep it. In the end, its Judges moment. Fans is there to take pleasure from it and share inside it but why should a spectator insist upon creating a huge profit off a souvenir she or he received simply from being in the proper place at the proper time?

However, keeping a record-setting ball and selling it might yield a life-changing amount of cash, that could mean a lot more to the fan compared to the ball does to the ball player. And besides, if Judge or any famous slugger would like the ball that badly, presumably he is able to afford to cover virtually any price tag.

Im a large Yankee fan, a large Judge fan and I’d certainly use them, but I’d not just supply the ball away, said Danny McDonough, a 32-year-old from Levittown, NY, who attends Seton Hall Law School. Youre holding an extremely valuable little bit of property and I believe youre foolish in the event that you just cease without anything substantial on your own. Not that I wouldnt prefer to do this for Judge and the business. Its too large of a chance to avoid.

Bob Fay of Watertown is really a 63-year-old memorabilia collector who was simply also at the overall game. And in addition, his opinion is comparable to McDonoughs.

Im likely to go on it home and Im likely to create a million dollars off it, he said. EASILY give it to anybody, Ill donate it to the Hall of Fame.

In 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were the people chasing Maris Durante said he actually did consider giving the 61st home run ball back again to Maris. However the slugger told him to help keep it and make what he could off it. He eventually sold it to a restaurant owner named Sam Gordon, who then gave it to Maris in an image op with him and Durante.

Maris gave the ball to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Its not necessarily clear who even gets the to the ball. When Barry Bonds hit his 73rd home run in 2001, one man caught it, nonetheless it was jarred loose and another man picked it up. They finished up in court, and a judge decided they ought to sell the ball and split the proceeds.

Theres less controversy whenever a famous home run is hit to a location fans cant access. When Hank Aaron hit his 715th homer to pass Babe Ruth, Braves pitcher Tom House caught the ball in the bullpen and immediately visited give it to the Atlanta slugger.

When Mark McGwire passed Maris along with his 62nd homer in 1998, St. Louis Cardinals grounds crew member Tim Forneris found the ball and gave it back. He got a substantial amount of good publicity for that gesture and also a minivan from Chrysler.

For a few fans, theres a middle ground between selling the ball for whenever you can or giving it back again to the ball player for nothing. At the minimum, theyd just like the possiblity to meet him as well as perhaps get yourself a few other components of high sentimental value.

EASILY caught the ball, honestly I’d actually want to meet Judge, hand the ball to him myself. Maybe get yourself a signed ball, a signed bat, a signed jersey, speak to him a bit, said Rob Casales, a 25-year-old financial analyst from Jersey City, NJ, who bought tickets for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Judge hit his 60th homer Tuesday.

If Im feeling just a little frisky maybe require playoff tickets, but I wouldnt make an effort to extort the Yankees for thousands of dollars despite the fact that I know many people are likely to try and do this, he added. Its not necessarily my move. I really like the Yankees an excessive amount of. I really like Aaron Judge an excessive amount of.

Rob Siwiec, a 26-year-old from Bayonne, NJ, who works at an attorney, said hed just like a photo with Judge, an autograph, some merchandise as well as perhaps some playoff tickets.

And he previously another idea aswell one which Durante and Maris never really had to take into account.

I’d request he follow me on either Twitter or Instagram, Siwiec said, and shout me out.


Follow Noah Trister at


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AP freelance writer Larry Fleisher contributed.

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