Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run into the bleachers at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, a milestone for the star.
In the left-field bleachers, chaos erupted as a dogpile of fans swarm to the ball.
“The dogpile for Judge’s 60th home run ball was insanity,” one account wrote in their caption, posting footage of the wild scene to Twitter.
A 20-year-old named Michael Kessler came up with the ball. Kessler is actually a college baseball player himself; he’s currently on the team at City College of New York. He plays pitcher and outfielder on the squad.
Kessler told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch how he emerged with Aaron Judge’s 60th home run ball.
“[My three teammates and I] were standing on top of the bleachers and then went down for his at-bat,” Kessler recalled. “We were jumping up and down because I knew it was a home run. It hit the top of the bleachers and then bounced toward our section. I just went to grab it and bear hugged it.”
However, while Kessler secured the historic ball, he didn’t keep it for too long before returning it to Judge. Kessler returned the ball to Judge after the Yankees’ exciting 9-8 walk-off winner against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kessler and Friends Receive Autographed Memorabilia, Meet and Greet with Aaron Judge
Since Kessler gave Judge the ball, he and his three CCNY teammates also in attendance each received a signed ball from Judge. Kessler himself also received a signed baseball bat. The group of four also had a meet-and-greet with the star in the clubhouse.
While it was a classy move from one baseball player to another, some definitely think Kessler should’ve done otherwise. While the memorabilia he received from Judge could be valued fairly high, they’re nowhere near what his 60th home run ball would be worse.
The Action Network’s Darren Rovell surveyed a few within the sports memorabilia community about the potential worth of the ball. This group returned valuations ranging from $50,000 to $500,000-plus.
Keeping the ball himself could’ve resulted in a massive payday for Kessler. However, he spoke on why he has no regrets about giving the ball back to Judge.
“Judge means so much to the organization, especially this year. He’s just unbelievable. Just the way he is, he deserved to have the ball back,” Kessler said. “I have no second thoughts.”
“It really means a lot to me to give it back to him,” Kessler added.
Certainly, Aaron Judge himself appreciates the gesture, and Kessler seems content with his decision.
Judge is reaching historic numbers this season, as he’s become just the sixth player in MLB history to hit at least 60 home runs in a season. He’s also the first since Barry Bonds (73) and Sammy Sosa (64) in 2001. With two more long balls, Judge will pass Roger Maris for the Yankees and American League single-season home run records.
The 30-year-old Judge also entered yesterday leading the AL in home runs, RBIs (128) and batting average (.316). This means he could become just the eleventh player to win baseball’s “Triple Crown” since 1920, a testament to his incredible and historic season.