Aaron Judge was able to connect on his 60th home run of the season Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the milestone ball was recovered by a New York college baseball player.
Judge’s home run helped sparked a ninth-inning comeback, capped off by a Giancarlo Stanton walk-off home run. The New York Yankees won the game 9-8.
Michael Kessler was identified as the man who secured Judge’s home run on a bounce. According to MLB.com, Kessler plays college baseball for City College of New York.
Kessler is a freshman business administration and management major from Port Chester, N.Y. He told the outlet he did not need to make a tough business decision in order to get Judge his baseball back.
“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. I have no second thoughts,” he said.
The 20-year-old college student agreed to give the ball back to the Yankees in exchange for a meet-and-greet with Judge, four autographed baseball and a separate signed baseball bat.
He did have one separate request, though, when he and his friends went over to meet Judge.
“Yeah, my roommate was like, ‘Please re-sign,’” he said. “It really means a lot to me to give it back to him.”
Judge is the first player to hit 60 home runs since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa crossed the threshold in 2001. Bonds would set the single-season record with 73 homers. Judge is the first American League player to hit 60 home runs since Roger Maris did it in 1961 with 61.