NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit his way into the record books on Monday with his 50th home run of the season.
With Monday’s long-ball, Judge became the first rookie in league history to ever hit 50 home runs in a single season. Somers resident Dan Zlotnick says the grand slam was exciting for him too.
He caught the historic ball, but it wound up being more of a retrieval.
“It bounced in the section in front of us and then bounced up a couple of rows behind me,” Zlotnick told CBS2’s Elise Finch. “But then the ball just kind of squirted out and I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast, so it was pretty cool.”
The 25-year-old is a former ballplayer himself. He went to college on a baseball scholarship and even played professionally in an independent league, so friends recognized him at the game and recorded him celebrating with his friend.
But Zlotnick was a pitcher, and says catching was never his forte. He knows this came down to pure luck.
He said plenty of people tried to convince him to keep the ball and sell it.
“They all know that with my background there’s no way that I was going to keep that ball,” he said. “You that that means a lot more to Aaron Judge than it means to me, I’m just the guy who picked it up.”
After the game, Zlotnick and his friend Steve Laurino were given a tour of the Yankees clubhouse and a chance to walk on the field.
He also got a chance to return the history making ball to Aaron Judge.
“He was super generous with his time, he gave a shout out to my little cousins who are his biggest fans so he was really appreciative and we were really appreciative of him spending his time with us and he signed a bat and a ball for each of us,” Zlotnick said. “It was really amazing.”
Dan is a high school baseball coach and a budding musician, and says he offered to write Judge a walk out song, and says the rookie sensation seemed interested.
He’s keeping his fingers crossed for a collaboration.
Zlotnick says he attended Monday’s game to support a college friend who pitches for the Kansas City Royals. The lifelong Yankees fan says he can’t believe he got to play a tiny part in baseball history.