It wouldn’t be a tale for baseball’s never ending archive of great stories without a guy named Frankie Lasagna.
Baseball history loves its characters, unknowing actors in a living play that never ends.
Wednesday night, after several days of anticipation followed by disappointment, Aaron Judge finally hit his record tying 61st home run. The ball sailed toward the left field stands, where Lasagna–a Toronto restaurant owner clad in a light blue Toronto jersey–and another fan in darker Jays garb were sitting.
61 years since 61.
Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball’s record books. pic.twitter.com/1V4Gums34C
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2022
The ball carried more than just history with it–it was worth a six figure price according to auction company executives who would be more than happy to take it on consignment– if a fan could only catch it.
As the ball headed toward the first row of left field seats, fan in the darker jersey who was in the direct line of flight appeared to get a glove on it as Lasagna reached over from the right. Whether that stretch got in the way of the other fan’s attempt to snare it is hard to say, but it certainly didn’t help.
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) September 29, 2022
how much did this drop cost that person? pic.twitter.com/fiSJXGNnhF
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 29, 2022
And away it went. Down into the Blue Jays bullpen and into the hands of Jays reliever Matt Buschmann, husband of Fox Sports’ Sara Walsh, who was back home in Florida watching all the craziness unfold.
Oh cool. He just handed that back without checking to see if our house is still here? I’d next like to announce our divorce. pic.twitter.com/37HmHIoomS
— Sara Walsh (@Sara_Walsh) September 29, 2022
According to the Canadian Press, Lasagna had bought his ticket just that day, with hopes of maybe having a shot at catching the homer that tied Roger Maris for the American League record.
“It’s like you’re in the game, you’re fielding and getting ready for the pitch,” he told the paper. “When he hit the ball, it was like ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ I think I hit my buddy in his neck (as I stretched out). I almost got it.”
The other fan wasn’t talking but Lasagna could only dream of what might have been.
“I would have held on to it for as long as I could (to) negotiate,” he said. “Maybe get Judge to try to come to the restaurant.”
Judge now has both #60 and #61, the former thanks to a college baseball player who snared it the left field bleachers of Yankee Stadium last week and gave it back in exchange for a meet-and-greet and some autographs.
Judge’s family was at Rogers Center Wednesday night and after the game, it was picture time with mom and the American League’s new co-home run king.
Following an off day, the chase for home run (and home run ball) #62 resumes in New York Friday night.